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Medicare Drug Price Negotiations Begin After Biden Administration Makes Initial Offer

By Tami Luhby, CNN

With the 2024 election approaching, the Biden administration is increasing efforts in improving drug pricing before voters take to the polls. Starting on Thursday, the first round of Medicare drug price negotiations begin. For the next six months, drug manufactures and CMS will negotiate new maximum fair prices. Medicare is making initial offers for 10 of the most widely used and expensive drugs. Meaning, the pharmaceutical companies can no longer demand from Medicare any price they want. The ten drugs include  Eliquis, Jardiance, Xarelto, Januvia, Farxiga, Entresto, Enbrel, Imbruvica and Stelara, as well as Fiasp, plus insulin by Novo Nordisk. These medications treat heart disease, certain cancers, and autoimmune disease, along with a variety of other conditions. Overall, these ten drugs cost Medicare $46.5 billion in 2022. 

The pharmaceutical industry’s main lobbying group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, argues that this new offer has political motivations instead of doing what is best for the patient. A lack of transparency from the government on how the new pharmaceutical prices are being runs the risk of unchecked authorities. However, the pharmaceutical companies do have the opportunity to negotiate on these new prices over the next six months.  

Many of these drugs being negotiated are life saving to people. Medicare’s initial offer has a decrease in prices ranging from 25 to 60 percent of the current rate. This will increase access to previously expensive drugs. Overall, these negotiations provide the opportunity for regulating pharmaceutical prices that have been skyrocketing during the past decade.

by Caroline Hansen

More Adolescent Boys Have Eating Disorders. Two Experts Discuss Why.

By Matt Richtel, NY Times

Eating disorders are often falsely labeled as “women’s illnesses.” However, eating disorders affect boys at high rates, rates that are only increasing. Dr. Jason Nagata and Dr. Sarah Smith, both experts on eating disorders in boys, discuss why. 

While people often think that an eating disorder entails a desire to lose weight, this is not always true. Many men have poor body image but don’t want to be thinner. Instead, they may have muscle dysmorphia. Those with muscle dysmorphia have restrictive eating and exercise habits and may even induce vomiting. 

Dr. Smith analyzed 11,000 eating disorder hospitalizations in Ontario and found that men’s hospitalizations were increasing the most. Dr. Nagata’s research showed that men with eating disorders often had more severe complications. This is likely because eating disorders in men are caught much later. 

Dr. Nagata and Dr. Smith call out social media as a factor. Teens are comparing themselves to others, producing a hyper-fixation of body image. While social media might be hard to change, Dr. Nagata and Dr. Smith have actionable advice for parents. They urge parents to address disordered thoughts about food and exercise early on, and to be active in getting their kids help.

by Lydia King

Items contributed by: Caroline Hansen, Lydia King