What We're Reading: Zika's Long-Term Impact; Addiction Meds in Jails; Icahn Against Cigna

Researchers from the CDC have found that 1 in 7 children born to women who had the Zika virus while pregnant, including children who initially seemed healthy at birth, now have serious health issues; more jails and prisons are offering inmates addiction medications; Carl Icahn recommends Cigna's shareholders vote against Express Scripts purchase, in part because of the "highly flawed" rebate system that pharmacy benefit managers utilize.

Serious Health Issues in Children Born to Zika-Affected Mothers

Researchers from the CDC have found that 1 in 7 children born to women who had the Zika virus while pregnant have serious health issues, such as brain damage or impaired vision. According to The Wall Street Journal, this long-term study found that the health issues emerged in children who appeared healthy at birth. Since many of the children born to mothers infected with Zika when the virus swept through tropical regions in the United States and its territories 2 years ago have not had follow-up medical care, the results of the research could underestimate the impact of Zika.

More Jails and Prisons Offer Addiction Medications

Resistance among corrections officers to offer opioid addiction medications is loosening among jails and prisons. Currently, 300 of the 3200 jails and 1900 prisons in the United States are offering inmates addiction medications, like buprenorphine or a monthly injection of naltrexone, reported the Associated Press. Corrections officers have resisted bringing addiction medications into jails and prisons because they view it as substituting reliance on 1 drug for another, but with new medications and more scientific evidence, that reluctance is starting to fade. Los Angeles County, which has one of the largest jail systems in the world, is preparing to offer buprenorphine and methadone.

Carl Icahn Speaks Out Against Cigna—Express Scripts Merger

Cigna’s investors are being encouraged to vote against the company’s purchase of Express Scripts. Billionaire Carl Icahn warned against the deal for a number of reasons, including the “highly flawed” rebate system, according to The Hill. Shareholders will vote on the deal to buy Express Scripts for $52 billion on August 24. Recently, pharmacy benefit managers like Express Scripts have come under fire for using the drug rebate system, and the Trump administration is considering eliminating the system entirely.