What We’re Reading: PhRMA Fights Drug Pricing Bill; Polio Found in Wastewater; Conjoined Twins in Brazil Separated

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) is threatening swift retaliation if a reconciliation package that includes drug pricing is passed; New York health officials urge polio vaccinations after polio virus was found in 7 wastewater samples; conjoined twins in Brazil were separated via surgery using virtual reality.

Head of Pharma Group Hints at Political Fight to Come

Stephen Ubl, the head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacurers of America (PhRMA), which is the nation’s top industry group for drugmakers, threatened political consequences if a law is passed in Congress that includes drug pricing measures. PhRMA is currently waging a multimillion-dollar campaign against the bill and has hinted at running ads against Democrats in tough races this fall if the law is approved. Ubl said that this law, if passed, would nix at least 15 drugs in the pipeline. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, plans to bring the law to the floor, on Saturday, and Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, announced that she would approve the bill, which Democrats believe will ensure the bill’s passing.

Polio Found in 7 Wastewater Samples in New York

Health officials in New York called for all residents to receive their vaccination against polio if they had not already received it, as there is now evidence that there has been community spread in the area. There is still only 1 confirmed case of polio in the state, an unvaccinated man in Rockland County who is now paralyzed due to the disease. The state’s health department released a statement saying that they were treating the case of polio as the tip of the iceberg in the area, with the potential for a much greater spread. The reported case in Rockland County was the first case reported in the United States in almost a decade.

Conjoined Twins in Brazil Separated Using Virtual Reality

A surgeon in England was able to successfully direct the separation of 3-year-old twins from Brazil who were conjoined at the head. Pediatric surgeon Noor ul Owase Jeelani from London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital directed the surgery, where he worked in the same “virtual reality room” as surgeons in London and Rio de Janiero. The twins are the oldest twins joined by the brain to be separated and will go through 6 months of rehabilitation to recover from the final 27-hour surgery. Jeelani said that this operation will not only give a future to the young twins but also give confidence to the doctors in Brazil to undertake complex surgeries again.