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What We’re Reading: North Carolina Medicaid Expansion; FDA Drug Approvals; Walgreens Won’t Carry Abortion Pills in Several States

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Medicaid expansion deal proposed in North Carolina; FDA gains new leverage over quick drug approvals; Walgreens announces it will not dispense abortion pills in several states where it’s legal.

North Carolina to Expand Medicaid

On Thursday, North Carolina legislators announced a deal that would expand Medicaid to potentially 600,000 low-income adults through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to The Associated Press. This is a big milestone for North Carolina, one of 11 states that has not approved Medicaid expansion. The deal, which is most likely to be voted on until later this month at the earliest, would likely go into effect starting in January 2024.

FDA Has New Power Over Accelerated Drug Approvals

A new law last December gives the FDA more power to approve certain drugs faster with preliminary data, on the basis that the drugmakers would continue to do more research to make sure the drugs were effective, according to NPR. This law gives the FDA more authority to hold drug companies accountable for providing further data in exchange for accelerated approval. It remains to be seen if the FDA will exercise its authority, NPR said, but noted that flaws and controversies surrounding accelerated approval calls for better transparency and clarity by everyone at the FDA.

Walgreens Won’t Carry Abortion Pills in Several States

Walgreens announced it will not dispense abortion pills in several states, even where their use remains legal, according to POLITICO. This response came after nearly two dozen Republican state attorneys general threatened to take legal action with Walgreens if the pharmacy began distributing these pills. A list of states that Walgreens says it will not offer abortion pills include Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, and Montana.

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