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What We’re Reading: Improved Cancer Survival in Young Adults; Pediatric Medicine Shortage; Future of COVID-19 Vaccines


Among young adults, 2-year cancer survival increased more in states with expanded Medicaid coverage; some pharmacies implemented purchase limits to help combat children’s medicine supply shortages; an FDA advisory panel will meet next month to discuss the state of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Expanded Medicaid Coverage Linked to Better Cancer Survival Among Young Adults

According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act is linked to better survival outcomes for young adults with newly diagnosed cancer, The Hill reported. The study also found the 2-year survival benefit was most notable among Hispanic and Black individuals, and individuals with breast cancer or stage IV cancers. Among young adults, 2-year overall survival increased more in states with expanded Medicaid coverage, with survival rising from 90.39% to 91.85% after the expansion in these states. According to the study authors, young Americans have historically not experienced the same survival improvements over time compared with pediatric and older patients, largely due to lack of health insurance.

Early Flu Season Creates Children’s OTC Medicine Shortage

As flu season began earlier than usual this year, shortages of children’s acetaminophen (Tylenol), amoxicillin, and other OTC medicines have led to purchase limits at some pharmacies, the Associated Press reported. According to experts, these shortages—which vary by location—are largely due to the higher number of children who are sick during this time of year and may continue through the winter season, but should not last as long as recent baby formula and prescription drug shortages. Because these OTC medicine shortages are occurring at the purchasing level and not the manufacturing level, pediatricians advise to look for alternative or generic versions of products and to check other stores.

FDA Panel to Discuss Future of COVID-19 Vaccines

An FDA advisory panel will meet January 26, 2023, to discuss the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, including whether vaccines need to be further modified to keep up with new variants and other changes, Axios reported. The last meeting of this kind was held in June 2022, when advisers recommended updated COVID-19 boosters targeting the Omicron variant. Following this meeting, the FDA will consider whether to recommend adjusting current vaccine authorizations, as well as the most efficient process to choose strains to include in primary and booster vaccine doses.

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