Trending News Today: HHS Could Override Hepatitis C Drug Patents

The CDC reversed its position on the FluMist Quadravalent vaccine and is now recommending its use for the 2017/2018 influenza season, Reuters reported. In 2016, the CDC warned physicians not to administer the nasal spray because data did not show it could effectively prevent the flu. The new opinion was the result of data that showed vaccines with the 2017/2018 strain of H1N1 outperformed the 2015/2016 version, according to the article.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issued a recommendation in favor of the newly-approved hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine, Heplisav-B, according to US News & World Report. The government is likely to adopt the recommendations, according to the report. Heplisav-B was the first new HBV vaccine approved in the last 25 years. It is administered in 2 doses over 1 month, and experts hypothesize that it may improve vaccination rates since other vaccines are administered in 3 doses over 6 months, according to the article.

Democrats are calling on federal officials to take action against high drug costs by utilizing a law that would allow the government to sidestep patents for hepatitis C virus medications, according to STAT. Under the little-known law, the Department of Health and Human Services would be authorized to use a patented product without permission. Pharmaceutical manufacturers would be able to request compensation but would not be able to block the government from producing the drug, according to the article.

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The date, a part of the Hepatitis Awareness Month, brings to light the alarming rates of the diseases, which are often preventable or treatable with intervention.
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