Issues

Whether it was flip-flops on the effectiveness of masks, seemingly inane restrictions on certain activities, or crass politicization of the use of ineffective drugs, the past 20 months have provided numerous reasons to question what we were told. Significant numbers of people are resisting employer mandates to get the COVID-19 vaccine and thereby jeopardizing their jobs. Still, there is a useful but misunderstood and underused mitigation tool — rapid-result antigen tests , which detect pieces of the SARS-CoV-2 virus's proteins — that can...

Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., declared that expanding Medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing benefits as part of the massive $3.5 trillion spending bill winding its way through Congress was "not negotiable." His hardline position is unsurprising. After all, he is the country's most high-profile proponent of a complete government takeover of health insurance. Assigning the federal government responsibility for seniors' dental, vision, and hearing care would seem to represent one more step toward Medicare for All. But it's odd for a self-styled...

Addressing the ongoing problems with the U.S. health insurance system, the Center for Medical Economics and Innovation at the nonpartisan Pacific Research Institute today announced the release of the first paper in the Coverage Denied series, which will analyze and propose reforms to fix the problems in the current system that threaten patient health outcomes and often lead to huge financial risks for patients facing unexpected or chronic health care challenges. Click to download the first paper in PRI’s Coverage Denied...

Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, indicated that one provision of Congress's massive spending bill was "not negotiable." Namely, expanding Medicare to include hearing, dental, and vision benefits. It's an odd place to draw the line. Many seniors already have those benefits, so the proposal is largely unnecessary. And despite the plan's exorbitant costs, the expansion would still fail to deliver much of the care it promises. Nearly half of the Medicare population, more than 26 million seniors , is...

Today, the Pacific Research Institute published an issue brief revealing overwhelming public disapproval for Medicare reforms that Congress is considering as part of its $3.5 trillion spending bill. Click here to read the full issue brief, "Drug Pricing Proposals Threaten America's Most Vulnerable Patients." "It's a relief that Americans oppose Congress's drug pricing proposals once voters learn the true consequences of these misguided reforms," said Sally C. Pipes, the brief's co-author and PRI president, CEO, and Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Health...

This year's influenza ("flu") season, which has already begun in some parts of the country, revs up in November, and last until spring, will be made more ominous than ever by the current high numbers of COVID-19 cases in many parts of the nation. The coincidence of infections in the population by the two highly infectious respiratory viruses has the potential to create a "twindemic" for our already stressed healthcare infrastructure. As of October 7th, daily cases of COVID-19 nationally were...

Democrats are dead-set on having the federal government pick up more of the nation's health tab. This is the principle behind everything from the drive to lower Medicare's eligibility age, to the push for billions of dollars for home care, to bigger subsidies for coverage through Obamacare's exchanges, to the dream on the far left of Medicare for All. People have a "right" to health care, progressives argue. So, in their mind, it should be free -- or at least heavily subsidized. But, health care...

After more than a year and a half of an agonizing pandemic, researchers at Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics have announced a successful oral antiviral treatment. The drug, called molnupiravir, prevents about half of COVID-19-associated hospitalizations. The data monitoring committee, which oversees clinical trials, stopped the trials because the evidence of efficacy was sufficiently persuasive — hospitalizations reduced by 50%, deaths by 100% — that they deemed it unethical to continue with a placebo-treated control group. On Oct. 11, the sponsors requested emergency...

The Food and Drug Administration recently revised its emergency use authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine by approving a booster shot for individuals 65 and older, immunocompromised adults, and people with a high risk of exposure to the virus at work. It's an exciting development for the nearly 80% of vaccinated Americans who want a booster. But for many, the FDA's announcement was confusing, too. The debate over booster shots has been fraught with misleading information and contradictory federal guidance. This lack of clarity isn't just a...

DOWLOAD THE PDF In October 2019, the Center for Medical Economics and Innovation at the Pacific Research Institute released its second study documenting the savings potential enabled by biosimilars. Biosimilars are medicines manufactured in, or derived from, biological sources that are developed to be similar to FDA-approved reference products. Biosimilars are approved to compete in nine biologic drug classes in the U.S. and are available in seven of these drug classes currently.  Since 2018, biosimilars’ market share has grown appreciably, see Figure...

Senator Bernie Sanders (I.,Vt.), America’s most prominent proponent of government-run health care, is once again leading the charge to move our country to a single-payer system. As chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Sanders is pushing a $3.5 trillion budget plan that includes expansions of Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare. Some moderate Democrats have balked at the cost. But Sanders predicted Sunday that Democrats would “come together” to pass the massive package via reconciliation later this year. The health-care reforms in the budget would...

By Henry Miller, M.S., M.D. and John Cohrssen This year marks the 35th anniversary of the US Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology (https:// usbiotechnologyregulation.mrp.usda.gov/ biotechnologygov/about/about), a blueprint for federal agencies’ oversight of genetic engineering that was prepared by the White House and published by its Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Click here to read the full article....

For weeks, congressional Democrats have been pushing to lower Medicare's eligibility age from 65 to 60 as part of their $3.5 trillion spending bill. A new paper from the American Action Forum (AAF) by Christopher Holt and Stephen Parente reveals just how radical that change would be. Such an expansion of Medicare would cost taxpayers a minimum of $380 billion over the next decade — and possibly more than $1 trillion. The belief that Medicare ought to be available to all Americans 60 and over has become...

Dr. Henry Miller talks to the nationally-syndicated Lars Larson Show based out of Oregon about innovations in artificially constructed organs and tissue that could be used to make up for the shortage of organ transplants. Miller also talks about the use of genetically-engineered animals, and the regulatory issues with the FDA, to develop organs for transplant into humans. Lars Larson National Podcast · Lars Larson National Podcast 09-28-21...

This week, Pfizer-BioNTech submitted data to the Food and Drug Administration demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11. The duo is expected to apply for emergency-use authorization in the coming weeks. Federal regulators have promised they'll "urgently" review the data. The FDA's Dr. Peter Marks told  USA Today the data would be "looked at if not within hours, certainly within the day." Speed is of the utmost importance. The FDA has already slowed the...

It's no secret that H.R. 3 -- the Democrats' plan to impose price controls on prescription drugs -- would have devastating consequences for our healthcare sector. After all, artificially restricting the price of any product invariably leads to shortages, rationing, and a slowdown in both investment and innovation. A new study from University of Chicago economist Tomas Philipson shows H.R. 3 would not just slow down drug development but essentially stop it altogether. Yet Democrat leaders are continuing their push to include H.R....

Modern medicine has produced many kinds of high-tech miracles, among them gene therapy to correct malfunctioning genes, electrical stimulation devices to restore significant function after traumatic spinal cord injury, and surgery performed by robots. Another medical area that desperately needs breakthroughs is transplantation of solid organs. We are making progress but are not quite there. Currently, donor organs — from a living donor or cadaver — must match the recipient's tissue type and size, and often, they are not perfect. By one estimate, approximately half of...

As the Food and Drug Administration contemplates booster shots and a myriad of other regulatory issues related to the COVID-19 vaccine, it is essential to reiterate the importance of a vaccine that is available and recommended for every age group at no cost to the patient — the influenza vaccine. Throughout history, influenza has been responsible for far more mortality than any other individual ailment. And in the 2018-2019 flu season, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease...

A record 5.6 million patients in the United Kingdom are currently on waiting lists for hospital care. That's equivalent to nearly one in 10 Britons. Of that group, about 300,000 have been waiting at least one year for treatment. Those who can afford to are increasingly paying out of pocket for private care. More than 20% of British residents are doing so, according to recent polling. Britain's National Health Service has long been a source of pride for the country. The organizers of the 2012 London Olympics made the NHS...