What We're Reading: CDC Pick Expected; Drug Price Gouging Lawsuit; Opioid Prescription Trends

Dr Brenda Fitzgerald Expected to Be Appointed CDC Director

President Donald Trump is preparing to appoint Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, to serve as director of the CDC, STAT reports. Currently serving as Georgia’s public health commissioner, Fitzgerald is also a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist and a strong supporter of vaccination. According to reports, the announcement could come as early as Friday. She would replace Tom Frieden, MD, who led the CDC during the Obama administration.

Generic Drug Trade Group Sues Maryland Over Price Gouging Law

Maryland became the first state to pass a law targeting drug price gouging this May, but the legislation is now under attack as a generic drug trade group is suing the state, according to the Washington Post. The Association for Accessible Medicines claims the law is unconstitutional and reduce patient choice and access. On the other hand, supporters are confident that the law, which allows the state attorney general to take legal action against companies hiking generic drug prices, will withstand the lawsuit.

Opioid Prescriptions Decreasing, But Further Progress is Needed

A Vital Signs report in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report demonstrates that efforts to curb opioid prescribing amidst a prescription painkiller epidemic are showing some positive results, as the annual prescribing rate decreased by 13% from 2010 to 2015. However, experts say the prescribing rates are still far too high, as the average opioid prescription length has increased by 5 days since 2006. Furthermore, the rates of physician prescribing vary widely nationwide.