KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The FDA Goes After Nicotine


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The FDA this week launched a crackdown on smoking and vaping — ordering the vaping machine Juul to be taken off the market and saying its intention to require makers of cigarettes and different tobacco merchandise to cut back the quantity of nicotine in them.

In the meantime, the Supreme Courtroom didn’t announce a ruling in a high-stakes abortion case, however it mentioned that non-public well being insurers might restrict the quantity of kidney dialysis care they supply, thus forcing some sufferers onto Medicare.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg College of Public Well being and Politico, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat.

Among the many takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • The FDA has ordered Juul to take away its e-cigarettes from the U.S. market as a result of the corporate’s utility to the company didn’t present sufficient data for regulators to find out whether or not Juul offered a hazard to customers. The FDA mentioned there have been considerations concerning the danger of some dangerous chemical substances leaching from the Juul pods. Juul is anticipated to enchantment the FDA choice to the courts.
  • Juul helped ignite an explosion in e-cigarette use when it got here available on the market, and officers initially thought it might help people who smoke looking for to kick the cigarette behavior. However the business’s use of flavored tobacco and aggressive advertising helped gasoline a dramatic rise in use amongst teenagers and led to a regulatory crackdown.
  • The Supreme Courtroom this week dominated that employers could choose to make all dialysis remedy out of community of their staff’ well being plans, a call that will seemingly drive many sufferers to hunt Medicare protection for his or her kidney issues. The choice was a disappointment for dialysis suppliers, who obtain much less in reimbursements from Medicare than they usually get from non-public insurance policy.
  • The choice leaves many particulars unresolved and additional authorized fights may very well be coming. Dialysis suppliers may also flip to Congress to determine legal guidelines that will prohibit employers from such strikes.
  • The Senate is prone to take into account a invoice proposed by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) that seeks to decrease the price of insulin. The invoice is taken into account extra pleasant to drugmakers than one other measure that handed the Home this 12 months. The Senate invoice seeks to get drugmakers to supply insulin on the value they obtained from Medicare in 2021 by permitting them to bypass rebates and different expensive subsidies paid to pharmacy profit managers and insurance policy. It might additionally restrict out-of-pocket prices for insured customers to $35.
  • Because the Senate strikes nearer to a vote on gun security laws, different efforts are underway to search out extra funding for packages to assist take care of psychological well being issues. These efforts might assist with campaigns to cut back suicides and home violence, that are additionally usually tied to weapons.
  • The Home is launching efforts to move appropriations payments, and the preliminary funding measure for the Division of Well being and Human Providers as soon as once more doesn’t embrace the so-called Hyde Modification, a long-standing coverage named for the late Rep. Henry Hyde (R-In poor health.) that bans federal funds from getting used for many abortions. Earlier efforts by the Home to jettison the Hyde Modification didn’t clear the Senate.
  • President Joe Biden has nominated Arati Prabhakar, former head of the Protection Superior Analysis Initiatives Company (DARPA), to move the White Home Workplace of Science and Know-how Coverage. She would exchange Eric Lander, who was pressured to resign after studies of employees harassment.
  • Prabhakar seems to be a noncontroversial alternative and comes with a great deal of administration expertise. Her duties will seemingly embrace overseeing pandemic planning, efforts to form a brand new biomedical analysis company known as ARPA-H, and techniques to boost most cancers prevention.

Additionally this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Noam N. Levey concerning the new KHN-NPR mission on medical debt, known as “Diagnosis: Debt.”

Plus, for further credit score, the panelists advocate their favourite well being coverage tales of the week they assume you must learn, too:

Julie Rovner: The AP’s “At Westminster Dog Show, New Focus on Veterinarians’ Welfare,” by Jennifer Peltz

Joanne Kenen: Fern.org’s “Back Forty: How to Protect Farmworkers From Heat-Related Kidney Disease,” by Nancy Averett

Rachel Cohrs: The Markup’s “Facebook Is Receiving Sensitive Medical Information From Hospital Websites,” by Todd Feathers, Simon Fondrie-Teitler, Angie Waller, and Surya Mattu


To listen to all our podcasts, click here.

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