What We’re Reading: Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests; Aduhelm Price Cuts; First Injectable HIV Preventive

Up to 500 million at-home COVID-19 test kits will be sent to US households for free, by request; Biogen cut the price of its Alzheimer disease drug Aduhelm nearly in half; the FDA approved the world’s first injectable medication to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted HIV.

Biden Administration to Mail 500 Million Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests

As reported by NBC News, the federal government will mail up to 500 million at-home COVID-19 test kits for free next month. As President Joe Biden will announce Tuesday, tests will be sent to any US household that requests one, and 1000 military medical professionals will be directed to help at overflowing hospitals and federal testing and vaccination sites. This news comes during a dramatic rise in Omicron cases, with the variant making up 73% of new US COVID-19 cases, the Associated Press reported. The White House is now working on a website where people can submit at-home test requests.

Biogen Cuts Alzheimer Drug Price in Half

Biogen cut the price of its Alzheimer disease drug aducanumab (Aduhelm) nearly in half, reducing the price from $56,000 to $28,200 a year, The New York Times reported. This price cut was made the same day it faced new criticism, as a group of health experts and advocates called on the FDA to take the drug off the market and announced support of an effort to file a formal petition with the agency. The controversial drug has faced low sales in the United States and other countries, with the European Union’s drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency, recommending against the approval of aducanumab.

FDA Approves First Injectable HIV Preventive

The FDA approved the world’s first injectable medication to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted HIV Monday, The Washington Post reported. The only previous medications were daily pills that can be up to 99% effective when taken as prescribed, but adherence has been shown to be difficult for many people living with HIV. The FDA-approved injectable drug, an extended-release injectable suspension of cabotegravir (Apretude), is first administered as 2 injections 1 month apart, and then once every 2 months. The FDA said recipients must first test negative for HIV to reduce the risk of potential drug resistance.