FDA's Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee voted 14-1 to reject Eli Lilly's new lung cancer drug, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Maryland, Nevada, and Virginia.
- Maryland: In a 14-1 vote on Thursday, FDA's Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee advised against FDA approval for Eli Lilly and Innovent Biologics' new immunotherapy drug sintilimab, which is designed to treat lung cancer. Despite promising results from the drug's phase III ORIENT-11 trial, the committee concluded that the findings presented did not provide sufficient evidence to support FDA approval. "I believe the data that was presented do not support the applicability of ORIENT-11's findings to the diverse, more heterogenous U.S. population," said committee member Ibiayi Dagogo-Jack of Massachusetts General Hospital. "The value of a well-designed multi-regional clinical trial, and the importance of the charge to have more diverse clinical trials was central to my vote." Similarly, committee member Christopher Lieu of the University of Colorado, noted that the drug "potentially has application, but it hasn't been proven. So it is problematic from that standpoint." (Kolata, New York Times, 2/10; Loftus, Wall Street Journal, 2/10; Bassett, MedPage Today, 2/10)
- Nevada: Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) on Thursday reversed the state's mask mandate for public venues, effective immediately. The mask mandate will remain in place in health care facilities, on public and school buses, and in airports. In his announcement, Sisolak cited falling hospitalizations and a "rapid" decline in coronavirus cases, with an average of just 1,280 cases per day—a significant decline from the state's mid-January peak. In addition, he announced that school districts and businesses would now be able to establish their own masking policies. "We are at this point now because as Nevadans we always look out for one another—that's our Battle Born spirit and that's the Nevada way," Sisolak said. (Knutson, Axios, 2/10)
- Virginia: Sentara Healthcare on Thursday announced a $110 million initiative to raise worker salaries, with an additional $15 million to improve benefits for workers throughout 2022. Starting March 17, the health system will increase wages for all eligible employees by 5% and will offer additional merit raises in May. Combined, the raises are posed to impact over 96% of the system's 29,000 employees. In addition, Sentara on Jan. 1 started increasing its benefits offerings, which now include reimbursement for adoptions, infertility care, and surrogacy and gestational care. The health system plans to offer even more benefits to part-time and full-time workers throughout the year, including paid time off, paid parental leave, short-term disability after a week, better access to sick time, support for family caregivers, and improved tuition reimbursement. "We continually evaluate our compensation and benefits programs to ensure they reflect team members' needs, contributions and changes in our markets. Investing in salaries and innovative benefits is essential in attracting and retaining the best talent and providing the care our patients and health plan members deserve," said Sentara EVP and chief people officer Becky Sawyer. (Christ, Modern Healthcare, 2/10)