What We're Reading: Financial Help for Dialysis Threatened; WHO to Certify Insulins; Drug-Resistant Superbugs

November 14, 2019

Financial assistance provided to patients in California who require dialysis is being threatened amid a new state law; WHO to certify insulins to curb rising prices; CDC warns of rising drug-resistant superbug threat.

Financial Assistance for Patients Needing Dialysis Threatened

WHO to Certify Insulins to Curb Prices

Drug-Resistant Superbug Threat Rising

Patients in California who require dialysis, including as those with kidney failure, are being informed by the American Kidney Fund (AKF) that it will no longer assist them in paying their premiums and out-of-pocket costs because of a new state law that is expected to cut into the dialysis industry’s profits, according to California Healthline. Supporters of the new law are calling AKF’s threat to pull out of California as a scare tactic, as state Democratic assemblyman Jim Wood said there is nothing in the measure that prohibits the fund from continuing to provide financial assistance to patients.The World Health Organization (WHO) announced yesterday that they would begin prequalification of insulins, including biosimilar versions, amid markedly rising prices and substantial shortages in poorer countries, according to The New York Times. WHO officials said they hoped to drive down insulin prices by encouraging makers to increase competition by entering the market. Currently, the world’s insulin market is dominated by 3 companies—Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi, who have increasingly raised prices in the past 2 decades. The approval process will allow permit United Nations agencies and medical charities to buy approved versions of insulin.Drug-resistant superbugs, which infect 2.8 million people and kill 35,000 each year, have caused a public health threat of germs that one Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official in an agency report cites as the beginning of a “post-antibiotic era,” according to USA Today. The report showed that an infection occurs every 11 seconds and death every 15 minutes on average from bugs that resist treatment with antibiotics. The CDC said there are almost twice as many deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections versus the agency’s 2013 report, and it identified 18 bacteria and fungi public health officials must monitor, among which 5 bugs are deemed urgent threats.