What We're Reading: Smokers Will Not Be Covered for Screenings

What we're reading, February 11, 2016: Plaintiffs lose their case against cigarette manufacturer; the politics behind providing care for those infected with Zika; and of course, prescription drug prices.

Longtime smokers of Marlboro cigarettes have lost their liability fight against the cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris USA. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, a jury unanimously rejected a claim filed 10 years back that Marlboros are defective and dangerous. If they had won, the plaintiffs would have been eligible to receive screening chest scans estimated to cost $500.

Meanwhile, as the Zika virus continues its rampage in Latin America, the CDC believes Puerto Rico might be hit hard by the outbreak along with some other US territories. According to Reuters, CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, shared the information with the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee. Republican lawmakers who led the hearing, meanwhile, played abortion politics saying they hoped that infected women will not have abortions to avoid giving birth to children with developmental problems.

At another hearing on the Hill, HHS secretary Silvia Mathews Burwell was up defending the president’s budget—she told lawmakers that the administrations is delving into every option that can help control prescription drug prices. Burwell responded to Senator Jim McDermott’s (D-Washington) statement of support for Medicare to be able to negotiate prescription drug prices, saying that prescription prices are an increasing part of the Medicare budget and Veterans Administration has successfully negotiated lower prices.