What We’re Reading: Manchin Backs Inflation Deal; AbbVie’s $2 Billion Opioid Settlement; Vitamin D Pills and Fractures

Senator Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, ended his opposition to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, paving the way for reductions in some Affordable Care Act subsidies and action on drug pricing; AbbVie’s Allergan agreed to pay more than $2 billion in opioid settlements; a study found vitamin D supplements do not reduce bone fracture risk.

Manchin Agrees on Inflation Reduction Act

Senators Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and Chuck Schumer, D-New York, agreed to a deal supporting the Biden administration’s legislative package that would spend $433 billion towards health care, prescription drug, climate, and tax policies and programs. The Wall Street Journal reported that the deal, referred to as the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, would raise $739 billion and reduce the budget deficit by $300 billion over a decade, but is likely to be rejected by Republicans. In terms of health care, $64 billion would go towards extending subsidies for some patients under the Affordable Care Act over a 3-year time span. The deal would also allow Medicare to negotiate certain prescription drug costs with pharmaceutical companies, which the package claims would save the US government $288 billion.

AbbVie’s Allergan Unit Agrees to $2 Billion Opioid Settlement

AbbVie’s Allergan agreed to pay more than $2 billion to settle more than 3000 lawsuits related to the marketing of Allergan’s opioid painkiller, Kadian, Bloomberg reported. The lawsuits were filed by state and local governments seeking to be financially reimbursed for the damaging effects of opioids in their respective communities. In December 2021, Allergan agreed to a $200 million settlement to resolve another opioid case in New York. The complete terms of this settlement are still being clarified.

Vitamin D Pills Have No Effect on Bone Fracture Risk

Despite the widely-accepted idea that vitamin D pills can protect bones from fractures, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found vitamin D pills had no effect on fracture risk in most people, The New York Times reported. The large randomized controlled study included more than 25,000 Americans, and found no differences in fracture rates between the vitamin D and placebo groups, and no significant variations based on age, sex, race or ethnicity, body mass index, or serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. Effects of vitamin D also did not change whether it was taken with or without calcium. However, people with conditions such as celiac or Crohn disease, or those with minimal sunlight exposure should continue using vitamin D supplements.