What We’re Reading: Lowering Drug Prices; FDA Limits Alzheimer Drug Recipients; Western States Brace for Heat Wave

President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order aimed at lowering drug prices; the FDA imposes limits on who should receive a controversial new Alzheimer disease drug; western US states prepare for a second heat wave.

Biden Takes on Drug Prices

As part of an executive order he is expected to sign today, President Joe Biden will call on federal health officials to increase their efforts to lower prescription drug prices, The Washington Post reports. The measure will prompt federal agencies to promote economic competition and will direct the administration to work with states to create plans for importing medicines from Canada, where they are sold at lower prices. Former President Donald Trump embraced a similar initiative despite objections from pharmaceutical companies, while the plan is largely supported by Democrats.

FDA Revises Alzheimer Drug Indication

Following backlash on its broad indication for the newly approved and controversial Alzheimer drug aducanumab (Aduhelm), the FDA yesterday released updated guidance on who should receive the treatment, narrowing down the previous 6 million eligible patients. Reported by The New York Times, only those with mild memory or thinking problems should receive infusions of Aduhelm. In clinical trials supporting the drug's approval, the treatment was only administered to this patient population, which is why many experts reacted with surprise when the initial approval was for all patients, regardless of disease stage.

States Prepare for Another Blistering Heat Wave

After a deadly heat wave recently struck the Northwest region of the United States and parts of Canada, states are again bracing for another spike in temperatures. This next wave is not expected to be as high as the previous one, but temperatures are expected to be 25 degrees above average for this time of year, according to The Washington Post. In California, an excessive heat warning is in place for the weekend, while temperatures are expected to reach the triple digits for the state’s inland regions. New data also show the death toll from the previous heat wave has increased to 78 in Washington state. In comparison, the state saw just 39 heat-related deaths between 2015 and 2020.