Healthcare policy news headlines: Drug pricing, industry messaging medical meetings, inspecting biopharmaceutical manufacturing facilities%%title%% %%sitename%% Goodfuse ,
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You’re Going to Want to Sit Down for This One 

Hot Topics | July 23rd, 2021

Washington D.C. may not have the tallest buildings nor the largest population in the United States, but the nation’s capital is home to a landmark that was once the world’s largest chair. Standing at 19.5 feet tall, the “Big Chair” sits at the corner of Martin Luther King Avenue and V Street SE on the eastern bank of the Anacostia River.

The oversized home furnishing was built as a marketing ploy by Curtis Brothers Furniture in 1959 to distinguish their company in the hyper-competitive furniture market. After securing the title of world’s largest chair, the Curtis Brothers pushed for even more publicity: During the summer of 1960, the seat was transformed into a 10 foot by 10 foot glass house complete with a balcony. 21-year old Washingtonian Lynn Arnold then lived in (or rather on) the Big Chair for 42 days.

Although the Big Chair no longer holds the title of world’s largest chair, it endures as an unmistakable landmark and symbol of resilience in a Washington D.C. neighborhood that has historically faced economic hardship and underinvestment. 

We invite you to sit back in your (regular) chair and catch up with the healthcare public policy news that was making headlines this week:

Medical meeting messaging to go under FDA’s microscope

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it will conduct a study to determine the extent to which industry messaging at medical meetings is false and misleading. When justifying the study, the FDA pointed to data showing that at least 80% of physicians attend at least one medical meeting per year and spend an average of seven hours on the exhibit floor at each event. The study itself will focus on three topics: advertising features, target populations and research quality. (STAT)

And you thought your plate was full

  • Following a pause induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA announced it would resume routine inspections of domestic biopharmaceutical manufacturing facilities. The regulator has a backlog of more than 8,000 “non-mission-critical” surveillance inspections. The backlog has delayed approximately 68 New Drug Applications due to the agency’s inability to conduct pre-approval, pre-market or pre-license inspections. (Endpoints News)

Mask madness

  • On Sunday, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy hit the airwaves to defend the decision of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lift mask guidance for vaccinated individuals as COVID-19 cases rise across the country. (The Hill) However, Murthy also caveated that he supports individual counties, such as Los Angeles County, who wish to reinstate mask mandates to combat local surges in infection. (The Washington Post) The reimposition of local mask mandates comes as the White House has begun to mull a fresh push for nationwide mask guidance. Talks are still in early stages, and it is not yet clear what this push might look like. (The Washington Post)

At the intersection of infrastructure and drug pricing

  • Democrats are continuing to target the repeal of a Trump-era regulation on drug rebates as a means for funding infrastructure spending in Washington. The regulation in question would lower out-of-pocket costs for some consumers, but it would also increase Medicare premiums costing the federal government an estimated $177 billion over ten years. Insurers and pharmacy benefit managers stand to gain the most from the repeal of the regulation, while pharmaceutical companies are pushing for the rule to stay in place. (Axios)

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