Nearly 10 percent of all Americans will experience symptoms of depression every year. One of the common forms of treatment includes a combination of therapy and antidepressants. According to the CDC, around 13 percent of Americans over the age of 18 were taking antidepressants between 2015 and 2018. The most commonly prescribed form of these are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), developed to alter serotonin flux in the brain.
How the Debate Over Antidepressants Puts Millions in Danger
Personally, I prefer being able to choose for myself. You know, my body-my choice!? I’m intelligent enough to do my own research and discuss my treatment options with my physicians. As someone who has suffered from depression, I wouldn’t demonize anyone that chooses to use antidepressants. I’ve been around people who have refused to take them and it wasn’t pretty, either. I can see why people would choose medication, over therapy, as it can be cheaper and less time-consuming (even with private insurance). I would assume that informed consent applies to most treatments (outside of coronavirus). I know that I had to sign informed consent forms every time that I went in, for refills and lab tests, every 90 days (every 30 days when I was on pain medication). Who knows, it might have changed in the past five years?! If they ever force-feed us drugs, to deal with this neoliberal hellhole, I would resist.
Paul clashes with Fauci over child vaccinations
“But I tell you this: When we get in charge, we’re going to change the rules, and you will have to divulge where you get your royalties from … and if anyone on the committee has a conflict of interest we’re going to learn about. I promise you that,” Paul said.
VERIFY: New COVID booster approved from final study of mice, not humans
According to documents on the CDC website, human tests of Moderna’s version of the new booster are still “ongoing.” Right now, there is only final evidence from “8-10 mice” per group.”
The FDA’s website shows for Pfizer the agency also relayed on the final study evidence from “8 mice.” But human trials are also ongoing. So far, the new boosters “showed a similar local reaction and systemic event profile.” That means side effects appear to be about the same including “mild to moderate injection site pain, fatigue, and muscle pain.”
“To advance the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 bivalent vaccine as rapidly as possible, regulators, including the FDA, WHO and EMA, have advised that our submissions be based on safety and immunogenicity data generated in adults with an Omicron BA.1 bivalent vaccine and supported by BA.4/BA.5 bivalent pre-clinical data and BA.4/BA.5 bivalent quality and manufacturing data. These packages follow a similar model to that provided to public health officials who evaluate seasonal flu vaccines each year. Moving forward, this approach may help address the pressing need for vaccines that provide a high level of protection against current and emerging variants of concern so that we can remain vigilant against this evolving virus. The FDA has authorized our Omicron BA.4/BA.5 bivalent vaccine based on clinical data generated in adults with an Omicron BA.1 bivalent vaccine, pre-clinical data with a BA.4/BA.5 bivalent vaccine and BA.4/BA.5 bivalent quality and manufacturing data. Pre-clinical data showed a booster dose of Pfizer and BioNTech’s Omicron BA.4/BA.5- bivalent vaccine generated a strong neutralizing antibody response against Omicron BA.1, BA.2 and BA.4/BA.5 variants, as well as the original wild-type strain. A clinical study investigating the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 bivalent vaccine in individuals 12 years of age and older is ongoing. Data will be shared with regulators when available. We are facing a virus with an exceptionally high mutation rate, which the nimble mRNA platform is well situated to address. Only the mRNA sequence requires updating to match emerging strains, and utilizing a bivalent vaccine aims to provide broader coverage against known and future COVID-19 variants of concern.”
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Pfizer’s anti-COVID pill Paxlovid shows no benefit for younger adults
The report’s authors found that Pfizer’s antiviral medication Paxlovid offered little to no benefit for younger adults. However, it did reduce the risk of hospitalization for high-risk seniors. Notably, supplementary material from the original study of Paxlovid in high-risk non-hospitalized adults with COVID-19 during the Delta wave had demonstrated benefits in those younger than 65, albeit the difference compared to the placebo was much less than in those 65 and older.
Among those over 65, there was a 73 percent decrease in the hospitalization rate and a 79 percent reduction in the risk of death. However, patients between the ages of 40 and 65 saw no benefit in taking the antiviral medication in either category, regardless of previous immunity status.
Another critical study from Hong Kong published in Lancet Infectious Diseases on the same day as the Israeli study but which went unmentioned in the press offered further evidence of Paxlovid’s limited therapeutic role. The authors reviewed their clinical experience with Paxlovid and Lagevrio, Merck’s antiviral pill, Molnupiravir, in hospitalized patients. They compared them to hospitalized patients who did not receive those medications during the horrific wave of infections that slammed into the semi-autonomous region in February and March.
The mortality risk reduction for Lagevrio was 52 percent, and for Paxlovid it was 66 percent. Those receiving antivirals had a lower risk of their disease progressing, but the drugs did not significantly impact their need for mechanical ventilation or ICU admission. The patients in the study averaged in age from mid-70s to early 80s.
Given the results of these studies, it bears mentioning that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently estimated that approximately 95 percent of Americans aged 16 and older have some level of immunity against COVID-19.
Prescription Drug Price Reforms Won’t Happen for Years
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The two biggest benefits for seniors in the IRA are the Medicare negotiation of certain high-cost prescription drugs, and the $2,000 out-of-pocket cap. But while price negotiations technically start next year, no consumer will see the benefit until the new prices begin in 2026, and even then on only 10 drugs (another 15 are added in 2027 and 2028, rising to 20 by 2029 and subsequent years).
The $2,000 out-of-pocket cap, which is across the board for all seniors, not just on certain drugs, is even worse. That cap doesn’t go into effect until 2025, although out-of-pocket costs get capped at $4,000 in 2024. If there is kind of an explanation for delays in setting up Medicare drug price negotiation, for the out-of-pocket cap there is not. You literally tally up patient out-of-pocket costs, which are fully transparent, until they hit $2,000, and then stop them. Why does this take more than two years to pull off? Medicare itself, the entire program, took only a year to implement.
Other parts of the bill do come online more quickly. The insulin price cap of $35 a month for Medicare recipients starts in 2023, as does free vaccine coverage in Medicare and the rebates on Medicare drugs with price increases above inflation. But the inflation rebate is benchmarked to 2021 prices, locking in those high costs, and just would mute price growth. The real benefits here are Medicare negotiations that lower drug prices, and the cap on all prescription drug costs for seniors. Those are delayed.
It is absolutely insane for a political party to boast that it lowered prices for seniors when the price reductions are years and years down the road. That kind of de facto bait and switch leads to distrust and anger. You’d have thought Democrats would have learned this lesson in the Affordable Care Act, whose major benefits didn’t kick in for four years after passage, a time lag that helped lead to two midterm wipeouts. But here we are again, as Democratic officials tout a drug price reform that isn’t visible to anyone.
That’s not necessarily Democrats’ fault (although they could have ignored the parliamentarian, of course). What is their fault is the failure to immediately make evident the benefits of the policy. Democrats have had a tendency to break faith with their base, to make promises and fail to deliver. Here’s a policy they’ve been promising for nearly two decades, they pass the policy, and they’re going to spend years explaining how the implementation is just around the corner. It comes off as double-talk and toxifies a political brand. And in this case, it was unnecessary.