Weekly Roundup – 4/20/07

J0262943Cheers all!  It is time for the Weekly Roundup – where I overview several of the events from the week.  I’ve been in London all week where the weather has been much nicer than anything that was happening in windy, gloomy, rainy Washington.

Here’s what this week brought us:

  • Effort at Medicare Reform for Price Negotiations Stalls – The proposal to bestow the ability for Medicare Part D to be able to negotiate prescription drug prices met a wall of defiance when Senate Republicans were able to stop the efforts short this week.   To start debate on the measure, the Democrats needed 60 votes but fell 5 short.  The issue, however, will not end here and  you can expect to hear more on this front. 
  • FDA Approves First Vaccine Against Avian Flu – A vaccine has been approved by the agency.  According to the agency’s release, "[t]he vaccine could be used in the event the current H5N1 avian virus were to develop the capability to efficiently spread from human to human, resulting in the rapid spread of the disease across the globe. Should such an influenza pandemic emerge, the vaccine may provide early limited protection in the months before a vaccine tailored to the pandemic strain of the virus could be developed and produced."   However, it is clear that the vaccine has some serious drawbacks and even the FDA admitted that it is an interim measure. 
  • PDUFA Reauthorization Moves Ahead – The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted to advance S. 1082 with modifications that would require the FDA to meet a time frame of four months with its label negotiations with manufacturers.  Other amendments failed to pass, including one that would require a risk management strategy for certain drugs. 

Being on the road, that is it for this week.  Check out Monday’s podcast for a great interview.

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