What We're Reading: Government Intervention on Drug Prices Unlikely

What we're reading, March 21, 2016: government action to lower drug prices unlikely; women live longer than men but face more years of disability; and the movement to give nurses more autonomy.

Despite for support from the general public and leading presidential candidates for government intervention to lower drug prices, the action seems unlikely to happen. The main reasons why such a move seems likely are political gridlock, pharmaceutical industry influence, and the structure of the US healthcare system, reported AP. Despite the low chance, some proposals have begun to take shape, such as the proposal to allow the government to negotiate prices for Medicare.

A study of Medicare enrollees found that while women live longer than men, the tradeoff is that they suffer through more years of disability. According to Reuters, after age 65, women spend 30% of their remaining years with a disability compared with just 19% of remaining years for men after age 65. The reason for this disparity is unclear, but may be a result of women surviving an incidence like a heart attack and recovering disabled instead of dying. In addition, with many women assuming caretaker roles, they have less time for activities that might keep disability at bay.

More states are giving nurses the ability to provide more care. The requirement throughout most of the country that nurses have physician oversight to conduct certain procedures and to prescribe drugs is slowly changing with West Virginia and Florida as the latest states to join the movement, reported The Washington Post. Now 21 states, plus the District of Columbia have laws that allow nurses full practice authority. Most of the change has happened in the Midwest and West, while nurses face the most restrictions in the South.