What We're Reading: VA Private Care; Off-Label Drug Promotion; Trump's Early Changes

VA Private Sector Care Will Continue

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will continue a program that allows veterans to access private sector care through the Choice program. The Senate approved the extension, but provided no additional funding, which means the program will likely run out of money at the beginning of 2018. The House is expected to pass the measure. The program was implemented in response to long wait times that were discovered in 2014 and allowed veterans to get care outside of the VA network in some circumstances.

Arizona Allows Off-Label Promotion

The federal government may not allow pharmaceutical companies to promote off-label uses, but Arizona has a new law that would allow “truthful promotion” to medical professionals. According to The Arizona Republic, the legislation, which allows drug companies to share information that is not misleading and consistent with “generally accepted scientific principles,” passed the state Senate and House unanimously. However, since the federal government still prohibits this communication of off-label uses, it is unclear how many companies will participate.

How Much Has Trump Changed vs Obama?

President Donald Trump will approach healthcare and medicine very differently than former President Barack Obama, and STAT has broken down just how different these 2 presidents are so far. Notably, Trump is moving to undo Obama’s funding increases for the National Institutes of Health. However, there are areas where the country can expect more of the same. For instance, after failing to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with the American Health Care Act, Obama’s signature law remains in place for now. In addition, Trump has yet to make good on his pledge to take on the drug industry; Obama was also unable to bring down drug costs.