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The Sights of a Summertime Stroll

Hot Topics | July 9th, 2021

Summer is a great time for a stroll around our nation’s capital. And while you’re out and about, you’ll likely come across one of D.C.’s 100 public murals tucked among the stately buildings and grand monuments. In 2007 the city’s Department of Public Works created MuralsDC to promote the creation of these murals with the goals of teaching art to teenagers, deterring graffiti and revitalizing neighborhoods. While Washington may not be the only city with a public arts program, many of D.C.’s murals tell a unique local story. Take Lee’s Legacy Mural on U Street NW, a tribute to Lee’s Flower and Card Shop which has been serving Washingtonians since 1945. Other murals such as Black Lives Matter Plaza speak to the city’s inextricable links to national social and political issues.

Here are the updates at the intersection of political and healthcare issues about which you should know:

Delta signals change

  • With the number of new doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered each day in free fall, the White House is continuing to push a more targeted approach in the fight against COVID-19. (Axios) On Tuesday, President Biden all but begged Americans to get vaccinated. He also explained the steps his administration is taking to keep the vaccination campaign going, which include directing more doses to doctors and pediatricians. The federal government will also deploy “surge response teams” to help local officials mitigate outbreaks in areas of the country with low vaccination rates. (The Hill)

Old school vs. new school 

  • A lobbying battle is heating up in Washington between two unlikely adversaries: the pharmaceutical industry and the paper industry. At issue is an obscure provision tucked into the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) funding bill that prevents the agency from digitizing prescription information. Since the FDA issued a proposal in 2015 that would require drug makers to provide some prescribing information digitally, the paper industry has lobbied Congress to prevent the proposed rule from going into effect. If the rider preventing the rule were rescinded, the FDA’s proposal would save 90 billion sheets of paper each year. (The Hill)

House releases report on research and revenue

  • On Thursday, the House Oversight and Reform Committee issued a report claiming that 14 pharmaceutical companies spent more on stock buybacks and dividends ($577 billion) than research and development ($521 billion) from 2016 to 2020. The release of the report comes as House Democrats continue working to build support for their H.R. 3 bill, which would empower the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower drug prices. (The Hill)

Pfizer wants to cover your OOPs

  • Last year Pfizer sued the Department of Health and Human Services arguing rules preventing the company from covering patients’ out-of-pocket (OOP) drug costs were unconstitutional. A federal judge is expected to issue a ruling soon, which could have sweeping implications for how much taxpayers will pay in Medicare drug costs. Supporters of the government’s position argue that a ruling in Pfizer’s favor would encourage patients to use expensive drugs by eliminating all cost-sharing. (Axios)

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