What We're Reading: Americans Have a Mostly Negative View of Pharma Industry

What we're reading, August 31, 2016: 51% of Americans have a negative view of the pharmaceutical industry; the CDC is running out of funds to fight the Zika virus; and Pennsylvania chooses 3 private companies to manage Medicaid plans.

A Gallup poll has found that just 28% of Americans have a positive view of drug makers, while 51% have a negative view. According to STAT, the only business sector included in the survey that the American public holds in lower esteem is the federal government. Ongoing controversy over the rising cost of drugs has overshadowed advances made by the pharmaceutical industry with new medicines treating cancer and curing hepatitis C. The pharmaceutical industry registered a net positive rating of negative 23, but the healthcare sector didn’t fare much better with a rating of negative 20.

The coffers for fighting the Zika virus are running dry. CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, announced Tuesday that the CDC is out of money to fight Zika and that Congress needs to “do something,” reported The Hill. Almost all of the $222 million borrowed from HHS has been spent or budgeted, with half going to state and local health agencies and the rest going to development of new diagnostic tests, public outreach efforts, and staffing to deal with outbreaks in Puerto Rico and Florida.

Private companies will manage Medicaid plans for 420,000 people in Pennsylvania. The contracts with the 3 companies are part of the state’s overhaul of how nursing home stays, home care, and other supports for the elderly and physically disabled are paid for, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer. The contracts are part of a new program called Community HealthChoices and it supplements managed physical and mental health care for Medicaid beneficiaries, as well as covers people who are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare.