Evidence Supports Safety Of Over-The-Counter Birth Control Pills
Read about the biggest pharmaceutical developments and pricing stories from the past week in KHN's Prescription Drug Watch roundup.
Birth Control Pills Are Safe And Simple: Why Do They Require A Prescription?
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to announce a decision that could severely restrict abortion rights in the country, access to contraception has taken on renewed importance. Birth control pills and other hormonal contraceptives—including patches, injections and vaginal rings—have been fully covered by almost all health insurance plans since the Affordable Care Act designated them as preventive health care. But an important barrier persists: the fact that one needs a prescription to obtain them. (Lenharo, 6/20)
Cystic Fibrosis Drug Accused Of Causing Suicidal Thoughts
A life-changing cystic fibrosis medication is claimed to be causing anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts in some patients. Wonder-drug Kaftrio was made available to cystic fibrosis (CF) patients in the UK in June 2020 and has been hailed as the closest thing to a ‘cure’ we currently have for people with CF. It is expected to prolong the lives of people with CF and has seen some patients’ lung functions improve by up to 40%. (Jani-Friend, 6/19)
Outcomes Of Flucytosine-Containing Combination Treatment For Cryptococcal Meningitis In A South African National Access Programme
Although flucytosine is a key component of WHO-recommended induction treatment for HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis, this antifungal agent is not widely available in low-income and middle-income countries due to limited production and cost. In 2018, a national flucytosine access programme was initiated in South Africa. We aimed to determine the effectiveness of flucytosine-containing induction regimens in routine care to motivate for the urgent registration of flucytosine and its inclusion in treatment guidelines. (Mashau, MPH, et al, 6/21)
Agreement Aims To Expand Antibiotic Access In Poor Countries
Japanese drugmaker Shionogi and the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) announced today a first-of-its kind agreement to expand access to a novel antibiotic for drug-resistant infections in lower-resource countries. (Dall, 6/15)
On drug costs —
Drug Pricing Revamp For Poor, Disabled Expected To Save Millions
The heart emojis drifting upward during – of all places – an Ohio Medicaid webinar provided the first clue. After a month of harsh questioning from state lawmakers and pharmacists over whether Gov. Mike DeWine's administration was botching a drug-pricing revamp affecting nearly a quarter of the state's population, the critique turned to praise as key details finally were unveiled. "In my 33 years of doing this, this is the most transparency I have ever seen from Medicaid," said Ernest Boyd, executive director of the Ohio Pharmacists Association. (Rowland, 6/20)
Federal Regulators Launch Investigation Into Drug Rebates Said To Drive Up Prescription Costs
The Federal Trade Commission last week announced what some believe could be a game-changer when it comes to the rising cost of prescription drugs. The agency — which is meant to protect fair competition — said it would look into the murky practice by which drugmakers grant rebates and other fees to insurer-owned pharmacy middlemen in exchange for better treatment of their products. The FTC wants to know whether that system is encouraging insurers and their middlemen to unfairly exclude cheaper drugs based on secret benefits they’re getting from drugmakers. (Schladen, 6/21)