National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said the US should have 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidate by year-end, and a "couple hundred million doses" in early 2021. Speaking during a live session with the Journal of the American Medical Association on Tuesday, Fauci said a COVID-19 vaccine candidate from biotech firm Moderna is expected to enter Phase III trials by the first week of July, and it will be tested in about 30,000 people.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers signed a letter urging the Trump administration to give Medicaid providers their emergency COVID-19 funding as soon as possible, noting delays could have long-term consequences for organizations that provide care to some of the nation's most vulnerable patients. "The COVID-19 pandemic has strained their already scarce resources, threatening their ability to keep their doors open in the midst of a declared public health emergency," the lawmakers wrote.
Mary Denigan-Macauley, director of health care at the Government Accountability Office, expressed concerns during a Senate panel hearing that the FDA is not adequately inspecting foreign drug firms, leaving the US supply chain at risk as the number of foreign-made drugs sold in the US continues to grow. Denigan-Macauley also voiced concerns on the agency's practice of warning foreign drug firms of impending inspections, which is not being applied to US drugmakers.
The Trump administration has selected Moderna, Merck, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and an AstraZeneca-Oxford collaboration as finalists in the search for a novel coronavirus vaccine, according to administration officials. The firms will receive additional government funding and clinical trial support as well as financial and logistical assistance for scaling up manufacturing.
The pandemic has put a spotlight on disparities in care and outcomes for black patients that have roots in systemic bias and racism, and mistrust of the medical system stemming from these issues compounds them, writes Harvard University lecturer Marya Mtshali. Studies conducted during the pandemic show black patients with COVID-19 symptoms were six times less likely to receive treatment or testing than white patients, while in some parts of the country, black communities are less likely to have access to testing and medical supplies.
While the nation is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, black Americans are suffering from what community leaders describe as another pandemic -- racism. The killing of George Floyd coupled with the disproportionate impact of the pandemic has brought long-simmering frustration into the open, and although some are expressing concern that protests will lead to an increase in infections, others point out that many black Americans were already holding jobs that did not allow them to isolate, contributing to disparate outcomes.
Data from the FAIR Health Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker showed private insurance telehealth claim lines volume increased from 0.17% in March 2019 to 7.52% in March 2020, during the rising novel coronavirus pandemic. The biggest increase was seen in the Northeast, and the top reasons for claims included mental health conditions and acute respiratory diseases and infections.
The CDC struggled to balance dueling needs to be cautious and to move quickly as it developed its response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and it was hampered by outdated technology, old data, slow guidance and confusing messaging, agency employees and experts said. Dr. Peter Lurie, a former FDA associate commissioner, said the CDC had been set up to respond to an event like the pandemic and was waiting for its moment and then flubbed it.
Suzi Gawel, a former office manager at an Indiana-based firm that sold durable medical equipment, could be ordered to pay over $600,000 in restitution and sentenced to prison time after being convicted of federal health care fraud and aggravated identity theft over her alleged involvement in a Medicaid fraud scheme. Authorities said Gawel, who entered into a plea deal, submitted more than 200 fraudulent claims to Medicaid for unprovided, unauthorized and unnecessary durable medical equipment such as pneumatic compressors and oximetry devices from approximately January 2015 through October 2018, resulting in approximately $646,690 worth of improper payments from the program.
Ryan Patrick, a pharmacist at a Virginia-based Rite Aid, entered a guilty plea to one count of obtaining drugs by fraud and one count of using the registration number of another individual in the course of acquiring a controlled substance. Authorities said Patrick filled prescriptions under the names of at least five different dogs issued by a veterinarian who worked at a veterinary clinic run by his girlfriend.
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