What We're Reading: Drug Price TV Ruling Upheld; WHO Ends Hydroxychloroquine Study; Caution Issued on Rally Attendance

June 18, 2020

A panel has ruled that pharmaceutical companies are not required to disclose drug prices in TV ads; the World Health Organization (WHO) halted its study of hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus disease 2019; Oklahoma officials warn medically vulnerable individuals to stay home from President Trump’s rally this weekend.

Panel Rules Drug Makers Do Not Have to Disclose Prices in TV Ads

A Washington, DC, panel blocked a rule forcing drug makers to display drug prices in television advertisements, Court House News reports. The panel ruled unanimously to uphold a federal judge’s decision striking down the Trump administration’s rule, which was challenged by pharmaceutical companies including Merck, Eli Lilly, and Amgen. The rule would have required disclosure of medication list prices covered by Medicare or Medicaid that cost above $35 for a 1-month supply, in an effort to drive down drug prices. However, the judges argued the price ultimately included in the advertisement would bear little resemblance to what beneficiaries actually pay.

WHO Ends Hydroxychloroquine Testing in Patients With COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced it would halt testing of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in the Solidarity Trial, a multicountry study investigating treatments for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Reuters reports. The announcement comes after new data show the drug did not reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19, including data from the Solidarity Trial itself. Specifically, the trial will no longer recruit patients to the hydroxychloroquine arm, but patients who were previously administered the drug will finish their course or stop based on a supervisor’s discretion. The FDA revoked its emergency use authorization for the drug on June 15.

Officials Issue Caution on Trump Rally Attendance

Officials in Tulsa, Oklahoma, are warning medically vulnerable populations (those over 60 or with compromised immune systems) to stay home from President Trump’s rally scheduled for Saturday, June 20, according to The Hill. The state continues to see a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, while Tulsa Health Department Director Bruce Dart and Mayor G.T. Bynum caution any individuals attending large gatherings will likely be at risk for contracting the disease. The Trump campaign plans to conduct a temperature check on each attendee and offer hand sanitizer and masks at the door, but wearing masks is not required in the 20,000-seat arena. In addition, all attendees must sign a waiver promising not to sue the Trump campaign or venue should they contract COVID-19.