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May 15, 2020

Around the nation: CDC warns of potential preventable disease outbreaks amid drop in vaccine rates

Daily Briefing
    The warning comes after CDC in a study published last week found that vaccination rates among U.S. children have declined amid America's new coronavirus epidemic, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Georgia, and Ohio.
    • District of Columbia: A Trump administration official on Wednesday announced that President Trump is expected to pick former GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) executive Moncef Slaoui to serve as the administration's chief adviser of "Operation Warp Speed," which is the government's accelerated effort to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Slaoui formerly served as GSK's head of pharmaceutical research and development and chair of vaccines. In addition, the Trump administration official announced that Army General Gustave Perna will serve as Operation Warp Speed's COO, overseeing the project's logistics (Holland/Ahmann, Reuters, 5/13; Liptak, CNN, 5/13; Shear, New York Times, 5/13; Miller, Associated Press, 5/13).
    • Georgia: CDC in a study published last week found that vaccination rates among U.S. children declined drastically in the weeks after the Trump administration declared the new coronavirus a national public health emergency. CDC found that, overall, orders for regular childhood vaccines dropped by 2.5 million doses between March 13 and April 19, and orders specifically for measles vaccines declined by 250,000 doses during that time. CDC in the study warned, "The identified declines in routine pediatric vaccine ordering and doses administered might indicate that U.S. children and their communities face increased risks for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases" (Branswell, STAT News, 5/8; Weiner, Washington Post, 5/8).
    • Ohio: The Department of Justice on Wednesday announced that the CVS Health unit Omnicare will pay $15.3 million to settle allegations that the company allowed opioids and other medications to be distributed to patients without valid prescriptions for the drugs. The allegations, which the Drug Enforcement Administration first began investigating in 2012, involved the company's prescription deliveries to long-term care facilities. A CVS spokesperson said the allegations involved activities that occurred in 2012, which was three years before CVS acquired Omincare, and the activities do not involve any CVS retail pharmacies or CVS Caremark, the company's pharmacy benefits manager. CVS "is committed to the highest standards of business practices and meeting the needs of its long-term-care patients," the spokesperson told STAT+'s "Pharmalot" (Raymond, Reuters, 5/13; Reuter, MedCity News, 5/13; Silverman, "Pharmalot," STAT+, 5/13 [subscription required]).

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