President Trump's proposal to lower drug prices moves forward, scientific leaders admit they're powerless to stop a Russian scientist from creating gene-edited babies, and the adminisration seeks to change a regulation that requires healthcare organizations to give notice of free translation services and directions on how to report discrimination.
A key proposal from President Trump to lower drug prices advanced on Friday, The Hill reported. HHS sent the White House for review a plan that would lower certain drug prices in Medicare by linking them to prices paid in other countries. The concept, called the international pricing index, was proposed in October. Although skeptics doubted the idea would advance, recent comments from HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Friday's move indicate the plan is serious.
Margaret Hamburg, MD, a former FDA commissioner and current chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Victor Dzau, MD, president of the National Academy of Medicine and a former chief exeuctive officer of Duke School of Medicine, publicly condemned Russian scientist Denis Rebrikov for his plan to produce gene-edited babies but admitted it was beyond their organizations' authority to prevent him from doing so, STAT News reported. Rebrikov said in early June he planned to alter the CCR5 gene in human embryos to protect them from becoming infected with HIV and that he would consider implanting the edited embryos into women if he gains the support of the Russian government. While some have called for a global moratorium on editing DNA in human embryos, others argue that it could prevent future advancements in responsible gene editing.
The Trump administration wants to alter a federal regulation that requires healthcare organizations to provide notice of free translation services to patients with limited English skills, according to Kaiser Health News. The changes would ease those regulations and strip the requirement that directions must be provided to patients on how to report instances of discrimination against them. The administration said this would save $3.16 billion over 5 years and would only have a negligible effect. Opponents said it would hinder access to care and leave more people unaware of their rights.