President Biden vows to make aggressive use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral 

President Joe Biden [Image courtesy of the White House]President Biden said in his State of the Union address that the U.S. aims to ramp up the use of Pfizer‘s (NYSE:PFE) Plaxovid.

The treatment has been in short supply since it won emergency use authorization late last year.

Last year, when Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK) and Pfizer were close to winning regulatory authorization for COVID-19 antivirals, many pundits hailed the treatments as a potential gamechanger.

To date, however, the use of antivirals has been limited, although demand has been especially high for Pfizer’s Paxlovid antiviral.

Get the full story from our sister site, Pharmaceutical Processing World. 

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OSHA suspends enforcement of COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

The Biden administration will not proceed with enforcing its vaccine mandate for businesses with at least 100 employees given a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The administration had planned on putting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in charge of administering the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. While a statement on the OSHA website proclaims that it “remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies,” the agency agreed it would suspend enforcement of the emergency temporary standard (ETS) that would have required many U.S. employees to be fully vaccinated or face regular testing. However, OSHA could change course in the event of a further court order.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit will hear the challenge to the OSHA-specific vaccine mandate.

For the time being, however, OSHA h…

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White House envisions $65 billion plan to battle future pandemics 

President Joe Biden poses for his official portrait Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in the Library of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

With President Biden’s popularity recently slipping to a new low, the White House has announced a sweeping plan to blunt the impact of future pandemics. In the proposal titled “American Pandemic Preparedness: Transforming Our Capabilities,” the White House argues that “critical work” is “needed to transform U.S. capabilities to respond rapidly and effectively to any future pandemic or high consequence biologic threat.”

The Biden administration is initially seeking Congress to back a $15 billion investment in the initiative. 

The proposal calls for a total of $65.3 billion investment in the next seven to 10 years. 

Of that total, $24 billion would support the discovery and development of novel vaccines. Another $12 billion would cover thera…

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CMS retreats from ‘most favored nation’ drug pricing scheme

Former President Trump’s plan to peg the price of some drugs to those paid in other developed nations was always controversial. Not long after Trump unveiled an executive order supporting the idea on Sept. 13, 2020, organizations, including PhRMA and Regeneron, filed lawsuits to block the rule.

Several courts agreed that the policy, which CMS codified in November 2020, had procedural issues. Namely, the agency provided less time for involved parties to comment on the rule than the Administrative Procedures Act prescribes.

HHS predicted the rule would save the federal government $85 billion over the next seven years.

Now, the Biden administration is moving to revoke the interim final rule that would have enacted the rule.

It remains unclear, however, what scheme to reduce drug pricing might follow. The Biden administration has stated that it is eyeing ways to reduce spending on Medicare Part B drugs.

The ‘most favored nation’ rule was not ju…

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