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Policy News

 

The Timekeepers

Hot Topics | November 19, 2021

From getting to work on time to helping satellites stay in geosynchronous orbit, timekeeping is an essential function of modern life. In the United States, the responsibility of maintaining the master clock from which all other clocks are set falls to the United States Naval Observatory (USNO) located in Northwest D.C. At the facility, dozens of independent cesium atomic clocks and hydrogen maser clocks work together to provide a time so accurate, it does not change by more than 100 picoseconds (0.000 000 000 1 seconds) per day. While the atomic clocks are tucked away inside the facility, the USNO maintains a master clock display for the public at the gates on Massachusetts Ave NW and 34th Street NW.

Now for the healthcare stories that made headlines this week:

Drug pricing reform: back from the dead

  • Efforts to include drug pricing reform in the Democrat’s social spending bill came back to life this week. The majority caucus agreed on a measure that would permit Medicare to negotiate drug prices in select situations, cap out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare at $2,000 annually, and prevent drug companies from raising prices faster than inflation. Drugs eligible for negotiation would include small molecules that are more than nine years old and complex biologics more than 12 years old. (The Hill, Axios)
    • Read more: STAT’s Washington Correspondent Rachel Cohrs breaks down who wins and who loses under this policy. (STAT)

Coming soon to a pediatrician near you

  • On Tuesday, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory committee unanimously approved the FDA advisory committee recommendation to authorize the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years old. CDC Director Walensky quickly followed course signing off on the policy within hours. The director’s action paves the way for these shots to be administered as soon as this week, with the pediatric vaccination campaign reaching full capacity next week. (STAT, Axios)

More on mandates

  • The Biden Administration announced that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will begin enforcing the COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard. The policy covers two-thirds of all U.S. workers, and will require covered workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Tuesday, January 4, or face weekly testing. There are limited exceptions, and 17 million healthcare workers will not have the option to undergo weekly testing. (Axios, The Washington Postfull text below)

If you enjoyed this week’s excerpt from Policy News from Goodfuse, we invite you to email us at YourTeam@goodfuse.com to sign up for the full weekly “insider only” newsletter featuring fun-to-read round-ups of Hot Topics, breaking news and some quirky facts to make your Fridays Goodfused.

Categories
Policy News

 

The Curious Capitol Columns

Hot Topics | November 12, 2021

You’ve just left the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum at the National Arboretum, and a few hundred yards in front of you stand 22 Corinthian columns supporting nothing but air atop a grassy knoll. You’re looking at the National Capitol Columns, though perhaps ex-Capitol Columns would be a more appropriate name.

From 1828 to 1958, the columns had a structural purpose and graced the East Portico of the Capitol. The columns were removed when the east side of the Capitol was expanded to correct an aesthetic (not structural) oversight in the building’s design. After the columns were removed from the Capitol, benefactress Ethel Garrett campaigned to establish a permanent home for the columns at the National Arboretum.

Thank you for making us your home for the healthcare stories that made headlines this week:

Califf for Commissioner

  • President Biden nominated Dr. Robert Califf, a cardiologist, to serve as Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If confirmed by the Senate, Califf would return to the job he held in the last few months of the Obama administration and have another opportunity to execute his goals of transforming the way stakeholders across healthcare use data. However, Califf’s confirmation process may not be smooth, as Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) publicly voiced concerns over the Dr. Califf’s approach to regulating opioids. (STAT, Endpoints News)

Your guide to mandate madness

  • It’s been a busy week for President Biden’s vaccine mandate. Last Saturday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked the mandate from going into effect. (POLITICO) The Administration responded by encouraging businesses to implement the mandate of their own accord, while the Department of Justice filed a brief arguing the mandate is legal. (The Hill [1], The Hill  [2]) As the legal challenges make their way through the courts, many American businesses are unsure of whether they should make preparations to implement the mandate. (Roll Call, The Hill)

Moderna’s patent problem

  • A public disagreement regarding the development of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine intensified this week when Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, told Reuters the company “made a serious mistake” by asserting three NIH scientists did not help invent a key component of the vaccine. Moderna has stated the company “reached the good-faith determination that these individuals did not co-invent” the component of the vaccine in question. The dispute may now go to court. (Endpoints News [1], Endpoints News [2])

Confusion in the courts

  • Federal judges issued two conflicting verdicts on the 340B drug discount program, which requires pharmaceutical companies to offer discounts on all outpatient drugs sold to hospitals and clinics serving low income populations. One judge ruled the federal government did not have the authority to threaten to penalize Novartis and United Therapeutics for reducing 340B discounts. However, another judge asked the federal government to review how some hospitals participating in 340B use contract pharmacies. Following the verdicts, it remains unclear if the Department of Health and Human Services has the authority to force pharmaceutical companies to provide 340B discounts. (STAT)

If you enjoyed this week’s excerpt from Policy News from Goodfuse, we invite you to email us at YourTeam@goodfuse.com to sign up for the full weekly “insider only” newsletter featuring fun-to-read round-ups of Hot Topics, breaking news and some quirky facts to make your Fridays Goodfused.

Categories
Policy News

 

Where the Tiny Trees Are

Hot Topics | November 5, 2021

The grandeur of Washington, D.C.’s most famous attractions can easily distract from its smaller gems. Case in point: the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum which is the world’s first (and self-proclaimed finest) museum devoted to Bonsai. Located on the grounds of the National Arboretum in Northeast D.C., the museum has received numerous accolades including “Best Place to Take an Out-of-Towner” and “Best First Date Activity.” The museum boasts a collection that includes examples of Japanese Bonsai, Chinese Penjing and plants native to North America cultivated in these East Asian styles. Oh, and did we mention admission is free?

Now for the big healthcare stories that made headlines this week:

Drug pricing reform: back from the dead

  • Like a corpse on Halloween, efforts to include drug pricing reform in the Democrat’s social spending bill came back to life this week. The caucus agreed on a measure that would permit Medicare to negotiate drug prices in select situations, cap out of pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare at $2,000 annually, and prevent drug companies from raising prices faster than inflation. Drugs eligible for negotiation would include small molecules that are more than nine years old and complex biologics more than 12 years old. (The Hill, Axios)
    • Read more: STAT’s Washington Correspondent Rachel Cohrs breaks down who wins and who loses under this policy. (STAT)

Coming soon to a pediatrician near you: shots for tots

  • On Tuesday, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved a unanimous recommendation from an advisory committee to authorize the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years old. The Director’s action paves the way for these shots to be administered as soon as this week, with the pediatric vaccination campaign reaching full capacity next week. (STAT, Axios)

More news on mandates

  • The Biden Administration announced that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will begin enforcing the COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard. The policy covers two-thirds of all U.S. workers, and will require covered workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Tuesday, January 4, or face weekly testing. There are limited exceptions, and 17 million healthcare workers will not have the option to undergo weekly testing. (Axios, The Washington Postfull text below)

If you enjoyed this week’s excerpt from Policy News from Goodfuse, we invite you to email us at YourTeam@goodfuse.com to sign up for the full weekly “insider only” newsletter featuring fun-to-read round-ups of Hot Topics, breaking news and some quirky facts to make your Fridays Goodfused.

Categories
Leading Thinking

What Meta Means for Brands

Last week, Facebook Inc. (the parent company, not Facebook the website/app where your relatives post pictures of their dogs) announced it would be changing its name to Meta. This long-speculated move comes as the company announced a split into two segments: the “Family of Apps” (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.) and Reality Labs. Reality Labs is Facebook/Meta’s attempt to develop a metaverse from its suite of virtual and augmented reality properties.

What is the metaverse?

The next iteration of the internet will be shared virtual spaces, 3D or otherwise, that become their own world. Meta simply describes its version of the metaverse as “a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you.” To that end, we already exist in a metaverse (for example, Teams calls) and ask any child about their experiences in Fortnite or Minecraft to know that the metaverse is already here. Meta’s bet is on how VR and AR will make us even more connected to these spaces.

What does this mean for brands?

For today, very little. Meta’s “Family of Apps” will continue to be fully supported and still represent most the company’s business. Going forward, however, this could have huge ramifications for how people around the world communicate digitally over the next decade. A fully realized metaverse is an entirely new way for brands to speak to their audiences, one that could put a greater priority on connection and communication between people.

If you’re interested in reading more about the metaverse, this WaPo article does a great job of summarizing what it is. The Goodfuse digital team will continue monitoring these trends and would love to hear about any of your experiences with metaverses and ways we can integrate some of these ideas into our day-to-day strategies.

Sam Henken is a Senior Account Executive, Digital at Goodfuse Communications.