What We’re Reading: US Set to Increase Vaccine Donation; Home Births Increase; Aduhelm Sales Slower Than Expected

President Joe Biden reportedly will increase global COVID-19 vaccine donations; the pandemic may have led to an increase in home births; use of Biogen’s Adulhelm, an Alzheimer disease drug, does not hit initial projections.

President Biden to Double COVID-19 Vaccine Donations Worldwide

President Joe Biden is set to announce that the United States will double its purchase of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to 1 billion doses to share globally, The Associated Press reported. According to 2 senior Biden administration officials, this purchase will increase the total US vaccination commitment to more than 1.1 billion doses through 2022. So far, the United States has supplied at least 160 million doses to more than 100 countries as part of Biden’s goal to vaccinate 70% of the global population by next year.

Out-of-Hospital Births Increase in California

The number of women giving birth outside of a hospital setting is rising in California, Kaiser Health News reported. According to the California Department of Public Health, about 5600 (1.34%) people in California gave birth at home or in a free-standing birth center in 2020 compared with about 4600 in 2019 and 3500 in 2010. The proportion of home or birth center births stayed relatively high between January and July 2021, at 1.28%. Experts believe the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this rate, as hospital conditions became riskier for expectant mothers. In the United States, the percentage of out-of-hospital births rose from 1.01% in 2009 to 1.56% in 2019. More recent nationwide data are not yet available.

Aduhelm Given to Just Over 100 Patients as Firm Reportedly Mulls Cuts

As of September 11, just over 100 patients with Alzheimer disease had used Adulhelm, a number far below Biogen’s projections and initial Wall Street estimates, according to STAT News, which cited a source who said the lower numbers of the controversial drug may push the company to consider cost-cutting measures such as layoffs. Costing the average patient $56,000 a year, the FDA-approved Adulhelm still has unproven benefits that have left physicians reluctant to prescribe it and insurers shocked by the price.