What We’re Reading: Ohio’s Toxic Train Wreck; Senate Pushes for PBM Reforms; Kentucky’s Near-Total Abortion Ban

The Biden administration sends medical experts to the site of the derailed train carrying hazardous materials in Ohio; senators push for pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) reforms; Kentucky Supreme Court proceeds with near-total abortion ban.

Medical Experts Sent to Ohio Toxic Train Wreck Site

Amid growing public safety concerns since a train carrying hazardous materials, including vinyl chloride, derailed in Ohio last week, the Biden administration has sent medical experts to assess any dangers to residents, according to CNN. An evacuation order that was sent in place has been lifted as of February 8. However, some residents are worried the testing is insufficient, as some individuals report smelling a chemical odor, headaches, and sore throats, and officials estimate thousands of fish killed by contamination were found downstream and in rivers.

Senators Accuse PBMs of Lacking Transparency, Push for Reform

During a heated hearing by the Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday, some Republican lawmakers accused pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) of lacking transparency when directing patients toward pharmacies they own, according to Fierce Healthcare. In the hearing, pharmacies testified against contracts with PBMs, saying they have “zero negotiating power.” On the other hand, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, a PBM industry group, has pushed back on proposed legislation, blaming drug companies of “evergreening” and “patent thickets” that are blocking competitive drug prices.

Kentucky’s Near-Total Abortion Ban Continues

On Thursday, Kentucky’s Supreme Court refused to overturn a near-total ban on abortion since the overturning of Roe v Wade, according to the Associated Press. Kentucky’s high court weighed in on issues concerning a statewide near-total abortion ban and an abortion ban after the sixth week of pregnancy. After voters rejected a ballot last year that would have denied any constitutional abortion protections, Republican legislation passed both laws.

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