FDA's top vaccines official last week said that a combined vaccine that offers protection against COVID-19 and influenza with one shot will likely not be ready in 2023, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Ohio.
- District of Columbia: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to release proposed restrictions on "forever chemicals" found in drinking water after learning that they are harmful in undetectable amounts. However, experts have noted that removing these chemicals will be costly and place a significant burden on communities with limited resources. Last year, EPA said these chemicals, which are part of a family of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, could cause harm at levels "much lower than previously understood." Though forever chemicals in products have mostly been phased out in the U.S., they were previously used in a variety of materials — from non-stick pans to food packaging — and the substances don't degrade. "We as a community of scientists and policymakers and regulators really missed the boat early on," said Susan Pinney, director of the Center for Environmental Genetics at the University of Cincinnati. (Phillis/Peterson, Associated Press, 3/2)
- Maryland: Last week, Peter Marks, FDA's top vaccines official, said that a combined vaccine that offers protection against COVID-19 and influenza with one shot will likely not be ready in 2023. In September, Marks said that a dual vaccine could be deployed in 2023. However, Marks in a webinar by the National Foundation for Infectious Disease said the effort was "too heavy a lift" for the 2023 fall and winter respiratory illness season. "I think that had to do with the fact that it was not so clear that annual vaccination against COVID-19 was likely to be necessary, until the past several months. But our goal is for the following season to have that available," Marks said. (Tin, CBS News, 3/2)
- Ohio: MetroHealth CEO Airica Steed on Wednesday announced that Craig Richmond resigned as the health system's EVP and chief financial and system services officer, effective immediately. While it is unclear if Richmond's departure is related, his exit marks the latest departure from MetroHealth's leadership since former president and CEO Akram Boutros was fired for awarding himself $1.9 million in unauthorized bonuses. In one of MetroHealth's court filings, the health system said Richmond and Boutros were the only two employees who knew Boutros was awarding himself through the Performance Based Variable Compensation (PBVC) program. "Defendants deny, based on the information now available to them, that any employee other than Dr. Boutros and the Chief Financial Officer was aware that Dr. Boutros himself was receiving compensation through the Supplemental PBVC program," MetroHealth said. (Coutré, Crain's Cleveland Business/Modern Healthcare, 3/2)