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What We're Reading: Drug-Pricing Measure Rejected; Medical Expense Deduction; Flu Vaccine Efficacy


Ohio voters reject measure that capped prices for drugs bought by the state; Senate Republicans consider keeping medical expense deduction in their tax bill; and the flu vaccine's effectiveness can be undermined by the process by which it is grown.

Ohio Rejects Drug-Pricing Ballot Measure

On election day 2017, Ohio voters rejected a measure that would curb prices of drugs bought by the state. AP reported that the measure would have ensured the state did not pay more than the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for prescription drugs. The VA often has deeply discounted drugs because it can negotiate prices. The pharmaceutical industry fought against the measure and put $70 million into ads attacking it.

Senators Could Retain Medical Expense Deduction

The House tax reform bill excluded a popular medical expense deduction that Senate Republicans are considering having in their version of the tax bill. The deduction allows people to offset high healthcare costs by deducting large medical expenses in their individual income taxes, explained The Wall Street Journal. Senators Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, both noted the importance of this deduction for Americans. The Senate can only lose 2 Republican votes if it hopes to pass a bill.

Understanding Flu Vaccine Efficacy

This year may be one of those years when the flu vaccine offers less protection, and the process of creating vaccines may be the reason why. STAT provided an outline of how most flu vaccines are made: grown in eggs. While the process is inexpensive, it can cause issues that undermine the effectiveness of the vaccine. The vaccines are grown in hens’ eggs and mutate in order to grow, and a new study showed that last year’s disappointing vaccine was the result of a mutation that developed during the growth process in the egg.

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