What We're Reading: Police in Patient Care Areas; New Surgeon General; Drug Price by Country

Utah Hospital Bars Police Access

After police arrested a nurse at the University of Utah Hospital for refusing to take a blood sample from an unconscious patient, the hospital responded by barring police from patient care areas. According to The New York Times, police had accused the nurse of impeding an investigation despite the nurse explaining she couldn’t draw blood from an unconscious patient unless the patient was under arrest or there was a warrant for arrest. Under the hospital’s new policy, officers will interact with supervisors trained in law and hospital policy and no longer deal directly with nurses.

New Surgeon General Sworn In

Jerome Adams, MD, was sworn in as the new surgeon general by Vice President Mike Pence, under whom Adams served as Indiana’s health commissioner. Adams said that as surgeon general he will create better partnerships to address health issues, such as the opioid epidemic, mental health, and childhood obesity, The Hill reported. Adams was confirmed in early August and replaces Vivek Murthy, MD, who served under President Barack Obama and was removed from the position by the Trump administration in April. As Indiana's commissioner under then-Governor Pence, Adams helped cut the state’s infant mortality rate and curb an HIV outbreak.

Novartis’ Drug Prices Vary by Country

Data from 2014 has shown that Novartis charges higher prices for 4 drugs in the United States compared with a dozen other countries. STAT reported that the difference in prices ranged from 45% to 176% and other countries with lower prices included the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. In one instance, a month's supply of Afinitor, a cancer treatment, cost $8911 in the United States but only $5260 in Germany, $5233 in France, and $4935 in the United Kingdom. The difference between the countries is that the others have a central government that acts as the primary gatekeeper for cost and coverage decisions, while the United States has a web of government agencies and private insurers.