Medical round table; Rising medical prices
COVID-19 cases are on the decline nationwide. In Florida, hospitalizations, deaths and new infections continue to decline. Vaccination rates are increasing and the Food and Drug Administration has authorized mixed booster injections for immunocompromised people 18 years of age and older who have received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and workers at high risk of exposure.
Vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 are expected to be available within weeks of Pfizer’s report that its new vaccine is 90.7% effective in preventing symptomatic infections. Children in the trial were given a 10 microgram dose instead of the 30 microgram adult dose.
Moderna has published its own results of a preliminary analysis of a pediatric study showing strong neutralizing antibody responses after two doses of the mRNA vaccine.
After a successful clinical trial, pharmaceutical company Merck applied to the FDA for emergency authorization to use its antiviral pill Molnupiravir. The drug is intended to be taken within five days of the onset of symptoms of COVID. When the drug enters the bloodstream, it blocks the ability of the virus to replicate. The side effect profile of the drug is limited but has not been studied in pregnant women.
A strained health system
The New York Times recently reported that palliative care facilities are facing significant staff shortages. More than half of the 2.3 million Medicare beneficiaries die each year in hospice care, but patients must have a prognosis of six months or less to qualify for hospice care. Most Americans spend 18 days in a hospice; even short waits can result in the loss of valuable care. Their registration cannot be postponed.
The pandemic also appears to have left the medical community less prepared for future outbreaks. Public health agencies have seen a staggering exodus of staff, many citing exhaustion and demoralization from abuse and threats.
Nurses who work on the front lines in healthcare reported more suicidal thoughts than any other worker, according to a Mayo Clinic study. In the study, which looked at 7,000 nurses nationwide, more than 400 said they had considered suicide in the past year. No nurses involved in the study died by suicide, but nurses across the country are facing mental health crises they attribute to the pandemic.
The holiday season is upon us, starting with Halloween this weekend. Dr Anthony Fauci and Rochelle Walensky, the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both gave the green light to the trick or treatment this year while encouraging people to avoid crowds and stay away. outside.
- Dr Jennifer Cowart, a hospitalist in Jacksonville and a member of the Doctors Fighting COVID group.
- Dr Swapna Reddy, professor of health, equity and diversity policy, Arizona State University.
- Dr Chirag Patel, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of UF Health Jax.
Soaring drug prices
Americans have the dubious distinction of paying more for drugs than people in other countries. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services forecast that U.S. net spending on prescription drugs will grow faster than any other major health care good or service over the next decade. Generic drugs are not immune, according to a 2016 report that identified more than 300 generics whose price increased by more than 100% between 2010 and 2015.
In response, medical societies such as the American Academy of Neurology are mobilizing to meet this challenge. The Academy recently published a position statement in the journal Neurology on what physicians and medical societies should do to help their patients access drugs.
Guest: Dr Nick Johnson, vice president of research at Virginia Commonwealth University and former spokesperson for the American Academy of Neurology.
To note: For our listeners who hear this story and are thinking about suicide, please call National lifeline for suicide prevention at 1-800-273-8255 or dial 988. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency service. Suicide is preventable and help is available.