🏀 High school sports are too competitive: A 22-year-old coach in Virginia impersonates one of her basketball players.
On Capitol Hill, House Republicans passed their first COVID-related bills, including one that would end vaccine mandates for health workers.
But first we’ll take a look at Pfizer’s record earnings and why they won’t last.
Welcome to Hill’s Healthcare Roundup, we’re keeping an eye on the latest developments in policy and news that affect your health. We are Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi.
Pfizer expects billions in lower revenue this year
Pfizer executives said the company expects revenue in 2023 to be significantly lower than in 2022 as the U.S. government ends procurement agreements for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
On Tuesday’s fourth-quarter 2022 earnings call, CEO Albert Bourla said he expects 2023 to be a “transition year” as government advance purchases end and the company’s COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty and antiviral treatments Paxlovid is starting to be commercially available.
Pfizer executives have not officially said how much the company will charge for its vaccine in the commercial market, but have previously said it could be between $110 and $130 per dose.
Pfizer said 2022 will be a record-breaking year, with total sales of its COVID-19 products approaching $57 billion.
- The company’s COVID-19 windfall shows just how dependent it is on federal government contracts.
- Pfizer expects sales of its vaccines to be $13.5 billion this year, down 64% from 2022.
- The pharmaceutical giant said it expects Paxlovid revenue to be just $8 billion, a 58% drop from 2022.
Read more here.
FDA redoes food safety plan after formulation crisis
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is overhauling its food safety and nutrition division following a series of crises, including the most recent shortage of infant formula, the agency announced Tuesday.
- As part of the move, Commissioner Robert Califf said the FDA will merge two separate divisions to create a new human food program, which will be led by a deputy commissioner.
- The Deputy Commissioner will have decision-making authority over policy, strategic and regulatory planning activities, resource allocation and risk prioritization within the Food for Humanity Programme.
The FDA has long faced criticism that it does not provide adequate resources for its food safety program. Those shortcomings came to light last year as a shortage of baby formula left parents scrambling.
The changes announced Tuesday come on the heels of a scathing report by the Reagan-Udall Foundation that found the FDA’s food program to be too slow and risk-averse, which “has compromised the agency’s willingness to act in enforcement or policymaking. ”
Read more here.
Fertility rate rises for first time since 2014: CDC
In 2021, the U.S. birth rate will rise for the first time since 2014, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The general fertility rate for 2021 is 56.3 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, a 1 percent increase over 2020.
- According to the report, this was the first increase since 2014 and follows years of decline, including most recently a 4% drop between 2019 and 2020.
- The total fertility rate (measured as births per woman over a lifetime) in 2021 is estimated at 1,664 births per 1,000 women, an increase of 1% over 2020.
Segmentation: Across all age groups, the fertility rate decreased for women aged 15 to 24 and increased for women aged 25 to 44. Birth rates remained unchanged for the youngest (10-14) and oldest (45-49) age groups.
Read more here.
Iowa bill criminalizes manufacturing, prescribing abortion pills
Republicans in the Iowa legislature introduced a bill Monday that would make it a felony to manufacture or prescribe mifepristone, one of two drugs used in medical abortions.
The bill would make it illegal in the state to “manufacture, distribute, prescribe, distribute, sell or convey” generic or brand-name mifepristone, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The text of the bill states that it “should not be construed” to impose responsibilities on women who undergo abortions or to limit the use of contraceptives.
Abortions up to 20 weeks of pregnancy are currently legal in Iowa. The Republican-controlled Legislature passed a law in 2018 banning abortions at around six weeks of pregnancy, which was subsequently signed into law by Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds. However, the law was blocked by a permanent injunction in 2019.
Reynolds has been trying to overturn the ban after the Supreme Court decided last June to overturn Roe v. Wade. Her efforts were dismissed by a state court in December, and the governor has pledged to appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court.
Read more here.
House passes bill to end some vax authorizations
The House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday aimed at ending vaccination mandates for some healthcare facility workers, the first pandemic-related bill approved by the Republican majority since taking control of the House.
The legislation, known as the Healthcare Worker Freedom Act, passed in a 227-203 vote, with seven Democrats joining Republicans to pass it.
The measure, introduced by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), would prevent the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) from enforcing workplace regulations and standards on Medicare and Medicaid during the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccine enforcement- certified facility.
Health care workers at Medicare- and Medicaid-accredited facilities must have at least their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine before they can provide care, treatment or services. More than 10 million health workers in approximately 76,000 facilities are subject to vaccine requirements.
- The rules have been hotly contested in court, with the Supreme Court ultimately ruling last year to uphold the requirements set for health workers while overturning similar requirements for large employers.
- While these rules were issued in response to the ongoing COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), they are not contingent on whether the PHE is still in effect. The White House announced Monday that PHE will end on May 11.
not forever: As OSHA noted in 2021, unless finalized, interim final rules for Medicare, such as vaccine requirements, will expire three years after publication.
“This is no exception. Without additional action by CMS, this requirement will expire in November 2024,” a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) spokesman said in a statement to Congress.
Read more here.
what are we reading
- Nursing home owners run out of cash as residents’ condition worsens, state documents showKaiser Health News)
- AbbVie’s blockbuster drug Humira finally loses 20-year, $200B monopoly (NPR)
- Adult drug use rises during pandemic, but drops sharply among teens, study shows (CNN)
- Walz signs bill guaranteeing abortion in Minnesota (MPR)
- Another Colorado hospital stops women from having fallopian tubes ligated, reopening questions about reproductive rights (Colorado Sun)
- Kentuckians can now own medical marijuana. Here’s how to access it (Lexington Herald Leader)
column on the hill
Why Misleading COVID-19 Hospitalization Data Shouldn’t Influence Local Policy Decisions
That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s healthcare page for the latest news and coverage. See you tomorrow.