What We're Reading: Massachusetts Vaping Ban; Lawsuit Filed Against HHS; New Seizure Drug Approved

November 22, 2019
AJMC Staff

New Massachusetts legislation bans the sale of menthol products; a group of hospitals is suing HHS; the FDA has approved a new treatment for partial-onset seizures.

Extensive Vaping Sale Ban, Tax Bill Passed in Massachusetts

A bill passed by Massachusetts lawmakers would ban sales of flavored tobacco and vaping products, including menthol cigarettes, according to the Associated Press, as well as impose a 75% excise tax on vaping products and require insurers to cover counseling for tobacco cessation. It was in September that Governor Charlie Baker first introduced a temporary 4-month ban, although he has not yet indicated whether he will sign the new bill. If it goes into law on June 1, 2020, it would be the first law of its kind in the nation.

HHS Is Being Sued Over Its Medicare Reimbursement Policies

Thirteen hospitals and Capital Health System have filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia against HHS and HHS Secretary Alex Azar, according to Bloomberg Law. The hospitals claim they were not correctly reimbursed for services provided to low-income patients after a 2014 change in the calculation of such payments. They seek a declaration that the HHS decision is invalid and an order of new recalculation and repayment, along with attorneys’ fees and costs.

Adults Now Have a New Treatment for Partial-Onset Seizures

Based on findings from 2 studies, yesterday the FDA approved cenobamate (Xcopri), a new antiepileptic drug from SK Life Science that treats partial-onset seizures in adults. The drug has a maximum recommended dose of 400 mg when necessary, but in most cases, the dose will be 200 mg daily. Possible adverse effects include changes in mood or behavior, sleepiness, and headaches.