US birth rates have declined for the fourth year in a row; Gilead's chief executive officer (CEO) is expected to testify before a House committee about Truvada pricing; nonprofit generic drug company Civica Rx has chosen the first 2 antibiotics that it will produce.
The number of births in the United States in 2018 dropped 2% from 2017 (3,788,235 vs 3,855,500) and marks the lowest number of births in 32 years, according to provisional data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. This is the fourth year in a row that the number of births has declined. In 2018, the fertility rate was 50 births per 1000 women aged 15 to 44 years compared with 60.3 births per 1000 women in 2017. While birth rates dropped for nearly all age groups among women under age 35, rates did increase for women in their late 30s and 40s.STAT has reported that the chief executive officer of Gilead is expected to testify before a House committee about pricing for its pre-exposure prophylaxis pill, Truvada, which costs approximately $20,000 a year. The price of the pill has continued to increase since it came to market in 2004 for the treatment of HIV. The hearing comes amidst scrutiny from HIV/AIDS activists who have been urging CDC to reach a deal with Gilead over Truvada, arguing that they should receive royalties because the government funded some of the research.Civica Rx, the nonprofit generic drug company launched last year to address drug shortages and high generic drug prices, has identified the first 2 antibiotics it will produce. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company plans to begin distributing vancomycin hydrochloride and daptomycin before the end of September, both of which are used by hospitals to deal with drug-resistant infections. While vancomycin has been in and out of shortage since 2002, daptomycin’s shortage began more recently in 2017.