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Advocates Stand Up Against AstraZeneca to Save Drug Discount Program for Vulnerable Populations

Wilmington Protest, Wed., Oct. 14th – 12 noon – 1:00 pm ET

Dozens of concerned healthcare advocates from across the northeast region protest AstraZeneca, one of five U.S. based pharmaceutical companies that have cut back on the number of drugs they provide through the 340B federal drug discount program

Please replace the release with the following updated version due to multiple revisions.

The updated release reads:

DELAWARE PROTEST: ADVOCATES STAND UP AGAINST ASTRAZENECA TO SAVE DRUG DISCOUNT PROGRAM FOR VULNERABLE POPULATIONS

Wilmington Protest, Wed., Oct. 14th – 12 noon – 1:00 pm ET

Dozens of concerned healthcare advocates from across the northeast region protest AstraZeneca, one of five U.S. based pharmaceutical companies that have cut back on the number of drugs they provide through the 340B federal drug discount program.

Healthcare advocates from across the northeast region will protest the recent actions of AstraZeneca, in cutting back the number of critical life-saving drugs provided at discounted rates to non-profit healthcare providers, through the federal 340B drug discount program.

WHAT:

Protest against AstraZeneca

 

 

WHERE:

AstraZeneca’s Corporate Office

 

1800 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803

 

NOTE: The protest will take place at the intersection of Powder Mill Road & Route 22

 

 

WHEN:

Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 14, 2020

 

12noon – 1pm (EDT)

 

 

WHO:

Healthcare advocates from across the Northeast Region

The federal 340B Drug Discount Program is a lifeline that allows safety net providers, including HIV/AIDS clinics receiving funding through the Ryan White program, to obtain prescription drugs at below-retail prices. The program was established with bipartisan support as part of the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992. With 340B savings, Ryan White clinics are able to stretch their grant funds, offer a wider range of services, and improve the quality of care persons living with HIV/AIDS receive. The program also benefits qualified 340B covered entities such as non-profit rural health facilities, community clinics and children’s hospitals that serve vulnerable populations.

Tomorrow’s protest, led by healthcare advocates from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), follows a lawsuit filed by Ryan White Clinics for 340B Access (RWC-340B) against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to require the HHS secretary to take action against AstraZeneca and three other pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly, Novartis and the U.S. division of Sanofi-Aventis which are illegally withholding drugs they are required to sell through the 340B program. With tomorrow’s protest, AHF is demanding that these greedy pharmaceutical companies stop their bullying tactics that will have a devastating impact on the healthcare and well-being of our most vulnerable populations (see LITIGATION PRESS RELEASE). RWC340B also recently released a study on the potential adverse impact of policies reducing resources to Ryan White clinics, see WHITE PAPER, PRESS RELEASE, and FACT SHEET.

“AstraZeneca has launched an assault on a federal drug discount program essential to the safety net of our nation’s health care,” stated John Hassell, AHF’s national director of advocacy. “They are messing with the numerous health care centers

Coronavirus relief funds for nursing homes dry up, raising fears for elderly, vulnerable

As drafts of a renewed coronavirus relief package continue to be debated in and around the White House, the many millions left languishing in nursing homes and elderly care facilities – along with their loved ones forced to communicate with them from afar – are urging swift action.

According to the American Health Care Association (AHCA), almost all the initial $175 billion U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) funds from the CARES Act – which was signed into law by President Trump in late March – has been spent, and yet coronavirus – officially termed COVID-19 – cases in at least 22 states continues to ascend, ahead of the already daunting cold and flu season.

“HHS has announced distribution plans for 80 percent of the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund created by the CARES Act. Health care providers, including nursing homes, will need additional resources to continue its response to the COVID pandemic heading into the cold and flu season, which provides new challenges,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), told Fox News. “COVID-19 disproportionately impacts the elderly – many of whom already have preexisting health conditions and chronic diseases – and the dedicated staff who care for them.”

AMID CORONAVIRUS, 1 IN 4 AMERICANS ARE FAILING TO WASH THEIR HANDS: CDC

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) has thus requested an additional $100 billion from the HHS Provider Relief Fund, which is accessible for all health care providers impacted by the novel pathogen, and asked “that a sizeable portion of the fund be dedicated to helping nursing homes and assisted living communities to acquire resources associated with protecting vulnerable residents and staff from the virus, including constant testing, personal protective equipment (PPE) and staff support.”

Parkinson is urging Congress to provide the additional billions to protect the most susceptible. As of Friday, the notion of further stimulus and relief funding was still the topic of political fodder in Washington.

Parkinson emphasized that the PPE supply shortages and delays in obtaining test results in the first six months of the pandemic “put nursing homes at a serious disadvantage” in keeping COVID out of their facilities.

 “Funding from HHS has helped nursing homes pay for additional staffing, secure vital PPE equipment, and conduct regular testing of residents and staff in response to the COVID pandemic,” he lamented. “We need Congress to prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in nursing homes and assisted living communities by passing another COVID-funding package before they leave town for the elections.”

Indeed, a prominent portion of coronavirus deaths have occurred in nursing homes and assisted living facilities nationwide – a chilling consequence of the disease, which is known to be especially lethal to adults over the age of 60, and with underlying health ailments. Furthermore, it can rapidly tear through converging, indoor dwellings and be passed on by workers who move from room and room.

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The U.S. Cities Most Vulnerable to COVID-19 and Poor Mental Health | Cities

For many Americans, the novel coronavirus outbreak has seemed to stretch on for an eternity. Nationwide lockdowns in the spring prompted white collar employees to work from home, often forcing them to simultaneously juggle family and professional responsibilities. And although certain states have eased more restrictions than others, school districts remain shuttered throughout the country. Thousands of working parents are still without respite. Meanwhile, front-line workers without the luxury to work from home continue to put their lives at risk.

Just prior to World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10, the Surgo Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, and Mental Health America, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness, published a report highlighting 13 American cities that they say are especially vulnerable to the twin crises of COVID-19 and steep declines in mental health.

Their study evaluated cities based on the percentage of residents living in communities that were both ill-equipped to deal with coronavirus outbreaks and had high rates of poor mental health; their state’s access to mental health care; and whether they had a higher than average ratio of residents to mental health care providers. Metrics on states’ access to mental health came from Mental Health America, while data on resident to mental health care provider ratios came from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.The cities ranking also drew from Surgo’s COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index, and from 2017 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in which individuals self-reported having poor mental health within specific census tracts.

Camden, New Jersey, scored the worst on the list, with as many as 84% of residents living in communities that exhibited high rates of poor mental health and vulnerability to COVID-19. Two other New Jersey cities – Passaic (No. 5), with 65% of residents vulnerable to both COVID-19 and poor mental health, and Trenton (No. 13), with 50% of their residents at risk – also made the list.

Nine of the 13 cities on the list were in the Rust Belt, including Reading, Pennsylvania (No. 2); Detroit (No. 3); and Rochester, New York (No. 7). Nearly half of the at-risk cities were in either New Jersey or New York.

“The rates of poor mental health outcomes are extremely high in the Rust Belt,” Surgo analyst Christine Campigotto told U.S. News. “When you look at rates of poor mental health in a map, the Rust Belt stands out.”

The four geographic outliers were Springdale, Arkansas; Albany, Georgia; San Bernardino, California; and New Bedford, Massachusetts. New Bedford’s appearance on the list is notable because the report references Massachusetts’ high ranking in terms of access to mental health care.

“These are tumultuous times for Americans, and they are taking a toll on our mental health,” Surgo Foundation co-founder Sema Sgaier said in a press release. “I hope our findings will spur local officials to adopt data-driven responses to ensure appropriate and equitable allocation of mental health resources to these communities.”

Here are the 13 cities most impacted

Covid-19 can afflict the powerful. Yet food workers remain the most vulnerable.

Amid this reality, Tyson Foods recently announced a plan to open medical clinics at several of its U.S. plants. Coupled with the addition of 200 nurses and administrative positions in the company’s health services team, executives claim these plans will help “promote a culture of health” among workers. With the new initiative, Tyson joins a growing list of companies with on-the-job medical providers.

But our nation’s history suggests that worksite clinics may do more harm than good, further harming worker health. The U.S. meat and poultry industry has a long history of obstructing worker access to medical care and workers’ compensation benefits and has failed to provide adequate worksite medical treatment.

At the dawn of the 20th century, as the U.S. economy industrialized, workplace injuries in manufacturing were commonplace. Injured workers did not have a right to the free medical treatment, wage replacement for lost work time or permanent disability benefits that would later be protected by the workers’ compensation system. Instead, courts decided whether employers bore any responsibility for work-related injuries and deaths. Employers easily and swiftly contested their liability, leaving tremendous burdens on workers’ families and communities.

During this period, to avoid costly liability lawsuits, several companies hired doctors to treat manufacturing worker injuries in-house. These “industrial physicians,” as they became known, also redesigned plant layouts and operations. Their efforts prevented workplace injuries, but they also enabled more stringent personnel management and surveillance and prioritized production efficiency. By allowing direct control over diagnoses and duration of treatment, corporations’ provision of medical care became a mechanism for surveilling and controlling workers and reducing labor costs.

In 1906, Upton Sinclair’s famed “The Jungle” shocked readers with its description of dangerous working conditions and industrial accidents in Chicago’s meatpacking industry. Incidents like the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, in which 150 workers perished after being locked inside, further raised consciousness about the plights faced by workers and the need to address occupational health and safety hazards. Captivated and alarmed, a moral discourse on workplace injury and illness began to take shape among the American public. “As the work is done for the employer, and therefore ultimately for the public,” remarked President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907 “it is a bitter injustice that it should be the wageworker himself and his wife and children who bear the whole penalty. ”

A compromise among business and labor interests led to the passage of state-based workers’ compensation legislation beginning in 1911. The “grand bargain,” as it became known, protected employers from liability lawsuits and, in exchange, promised workers access to independent medical care and limited compensation for their temporary and permanent disabilities. Within a decade nearly every state had a system of workers’ compensation, though they were vastly uneven and inadequate and would remain so for decades to come.

A commission convened by President Nixon discovered as much a half-century later, finding that in 1970, 34 states did not meet even half of the workers’ compensation standards prescribed by the newly created Occupational Safety and

Older, Overweight and Male: Trump’s COVID Risk Factors Make Him Vulnerable | Top News

By Kate Kelland and Ludwig Burger

LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s gender, age and weight are all factors that make him more vulnerable to developing severe COVID-19, and give him a notional risk of around 4% of dying from it, health experts said on Friday.

The probability is hard to assess precisely, however, since factors such as overall fitness and activity levels, pre-existing conditions and recent medical research can all make a significant difference.

A working paper by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research published in July put an infected but otherwise healthy 70- to 79-year-old’s risk of dying from COVID-19 at 4.6%, regardless of gender.

David Spiegelhalter, a professor of risk and an expert in statistics at Britain’s Cambridge University, cited a COVID-19 survival calculator that put the mortality rate for an otherwise healthy 74-year-old white man with COVID-19 during the peak of the pandemic in Britain earlier this year at 3% to 4%.

That risk would now “presumably be somewhat less”, he said, as doctors around the world have gained experience in treating the disease.

Michael Head, a global health professor at Britain’s University of Southampton, said that “the president’s profile would classify him as vulnerable. He is aged 74, and reportedly overweight”.

Information provided by a White House physician in June puts the 74-year-old president in the obese category, which triples his risk of needing hospital treatment, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released in August.

Even for otherwise healthy 65- to 74-year-olds infected with coronavirus, the mortality risk is 90 times higher than for those aged 18-29, according to the CDC data.

Julian Tang, an expert in respiratory sciences at Leicester University, said that, apart from age and obesity, “other existing medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, other chronic heart and lung disease can lead to serious COVID-19 disease”.

But Naveed Sattar, a professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, noted that Trump has no reported chronic conditions and is reasonably active – he plays golf frequently and appears to walk briskly – which may offset some of the risks.

The CDC data also do not take into account the state-of-the-art care that the president is likely to receive, although medical experts warned Trump’s doctors not to be tempted to treat him differently from any similar patient.

“I would advise them: Do not deviate from your standard protocol – because that’s when mistakes happen and you’re starting to experiment,” said Bharat Pankhania, senior clinical lecturer at Britain’s University of Exeter Medical School.

“This is not a time or place to experiment, just because he happens to be the president.”

A number of possible COVID-19 treatment approaches are currently being tested in late-stage trials, including manufactured antibodies designed to stop the coronavirus from invading cells.

Pankhania said the standard protocol would be to “monitor, and act if required”.

“The usual thing that we need to act on, if required, is oxygen,” he said. “And if a