Americans Lack Booster Info, Congress Passes Covid Mental Health Bill, 2nd Booster Effective

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Poll: Millions of Americans lack booster knowledge

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More than 1,200 prescription drugs rose in price faster than the rate of inflation between 2021 and 2022, according to a report released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Friday.

  • Between July 2021 and July 2022, the prices for 1,216 drugs rose more than the 8.6 percent rate of inflation; the drugs saw an average price increase of 31.6 percent.
  • Some of the drugs that saw the highest dollar amount increases in 2022 include lymphoma medications like Tecartus, Yescarta and Zevalin as well as diabetes medications like Korlym.

Context: The report highlights the potential impact of the drug pricing provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act. The law requires drug companies to pay a rebate to the government if drug prices rise faster than inflation for Medicare.

  • The requirement takes effect Saturday, for the 12-month period beginning
    Oct. 1.
  • Caveat: the report looks at list prices, which is not the final cost to consumers. List prices don’t account for rebates paid to pharmacy benefit managers, who pass savings on to the public.


House passes bill addressing mental health concerns

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The House passed a bill on Thursday that seeks to address mental health concerns among students, families and educators aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which lawmakers say had a “severe impact” on those three groups.

The bill, titled the Mental Health Matters Act, passed in a largely party-line 220-205 vote. One Republican, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), joined all Democrats present in supporting it.

Included in the bill:

The legislation, if passed by the Senate and signed into law, would provide grants to establish a pipeline for school-based mental health service professionals. Additionally, it would grow the number of mental health experts at elementary and secondary schools that are based in high-need locations.

The Department of Education would also be ordered to administer grants to state educational agencies to go towards recruiting and maintaining school-based mental-health-service providers at public elementary and secondary schools that are considered high need.

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), the sponsor of the bill, said his legislation is needed to address the ripple-effect student mental health concerns are having on schools and educators.

“Educators have been forced to play an outsized role in supporting and responding to students’ mental health needs, leading to increased depression and trauma among educators, their students, and the families and the community. However, our schools do not have the specialized staff necessary to respond to the increased prevalence and complexity of students’ mental health needs,” he said.


A new study published this week found that the second COVID-19 booster that was made available to U.S. adults over the age of 50 this year was highly effective at protecting nursing home residents from hospitalizations and deaths, though its ability to prevent infections was not as potent.

The analysis, published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, compared nursing home residents who received a second original mRNA booster dose to those who did not get the additional shot.

According to the study, the second shot was 90 percent effective at preventing coronavirus-related deaths and 74 percent effective at preventing severe cases that lead to either hospitalizations or deaths.

The shot was about 26 percent effective at preventing infection, however. This study looked at cases between March 29 and July 25. It was within this period that the BA.5 omicron subvariant grew to become dominant in the U.S.

“These findings suggest that among nursing home residents, second mRNA
COVID-19 vaccine booster doses provided additional protection over first booster doses against severe COVID-19 outcomes during a time of emerging Omicron variants,” researchers wrote. “Facilities should continue to ensure that nursing home residents remain up to date with COVID-19 vaccination, including bivalent vaccine booster doses, to prevent severe COVID-19 outcomes.”


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