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J&J, Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb CEOs Will Testify at Senate Hearing on Drug Prices
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J&J, Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb CEOs Will Testify at Senate Hearing on Drug Prices

The chief executives of three major pharmaceutical companies are set to appear in front of the Senate health committee on Thursday to defend how much they charge for drugs in the United States, drawing them further into a confrontation with lawmakers and the Biden administration over the cost of some of the most widely used prescription medications.The three executives scheduled to testify — Joaquin Duato of Johnson & Johnson, Robert M. Davis of Merck and Christopher Boerner of Bristol Myers Squibb — are expected to clash with the health committee’s chairman, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who has made reining in drug prices a signature cause of his late-career years in Congress.Mr. Sanders plans to focus the hearing on why drug prices are higher in the United States...
Cancer Diagnosis Like King Charles’s Is Not Unheard-Of
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Cancer Diagnosis Like King Charles’s Is Not Unheard-Of

A patient checks into the hospital for a routine procedure to treat an enlarged prostate. And, unexpectedly, a test done in the hospital — perhaps a blood test or an X-ray or an examination of the urethra and the bladder — finds a cancer.Apparently, something like that happened to King Charles III. When the British monarch was treated for an enlarged prostate in January, doctors found a cancer that the palace said is not prostate cancer. Charles started treatment Monday. The palace did not disclose what had led to the king’s diagnosis.While some prostate specialists like Dr. Peter Albertsen at the University of Connecticut called such situations “pretty rare,” other doctors said they were not unheard of.Dr. Otis Brawley, an oncologist at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, said a ma...
When a Spouse Goes to the Nursing Home
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When a Spouse Goes to the Nursing Home

Even as the signals of approaching dementia became impossible to ignore, Joseph Drolet dreaded the prospect of moving his partner into a long-term care facility.Mr. Drolet, 79, and his beloved Rebecca, 71, both retired lawyers and prosecutors in Atlanta, had been a couple for 33 years, though they retained separate homes. In 2019, she began getting lost while driving, mishandling her finances and struggling with the television remote. The diagnosis — Alzheimer’s disease — came in 2021.Over time, Mr. Drolet moved Rebecca (whose surname he asked to withhold to protect her privacy) into his home. But serving as her round-the-clock caregiver, as she needed help with every daily task, became exhausting and untenable. Rebecca began wandering their neighborhood and “getting dressed in the middle ...
6 Reasons That It’s Hard to Get Your Wegovy and Other Weight-Loss Prescriptions
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6 Reasons That It’s Hard to Get Your Wegovy and Other Weight-Loss Prescriptions

About 3.8 million people in the United States — four times the number two years ago — are now taking the most popular weight-loss drugs, according to the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, an industry data provider.Some of these prescriptions are for diabetes. The medicines are Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy (the same drug sold under different brand names), and Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro and Zepbound (also the same drug).Pent-up demand is even higher, because many people who want the drugs cannot find or afford them. Without insurance coverage, people have to pay out of their own pockets. If they obtain a coupon offering a discount from Eli Lilly, people with commercial insurance pay $550 a month for Zepbound. For those who are commercially insured, a coupon from Novo Nordisk for Wegovy ...
U.S. Makes Initial Offers in Medicare Drug Price Negotiations
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U.S. Makes Initial Offers in Medicare Drug Price Negotiations

Why It Matters: The price offers kick off negotiations.The medicines selected for negotiations are taken by millions of Americans to treat conditions like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. The administration identified them in August, beginning a lengthy process intended to result in an agreed-upon price that would take effect in 2026, assuming the negotiation program survives legal challenges.The initial round of price offers is a key step in the negotiation process. Each drugmaker has until early March to accept the offer or propose a counteroffer to the government. A series of negotiation sessions could follow, with the process set to conclude by August.Health policy experts said the announcement of the initial round of offers amounted to a kind of starting gun, giving the Biden admin...
The Stanley Cup Lead Scare Is Not Something to Worry About, Experts Say
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The Stanley Cup Lead Scare Is Not Something to Worry About, Experts Say

You might have heard of the Stanley tumbler, the hip, trendy water bottle that has people camping outside stores or getting into fights to get their hands on one.They’ve become a fashion accessory, especially since Stanley has made use of influencer culture to target women and make sales of its tumblers skyrocket. The reach of the bottles has been amplified by social media users.But social media giveth and social media taketh away. In recent weeks, several widely shared posts on TikTok, Instagram, Reddit and X have amplified concerns Stanley cups may contain lead, with one X user calling it “The Leadening.” YouTubers have also jumped into the fray. One TikTok video on the topic was viewed nearly seven million times.Some Stanley owners, hoping to check the claims, started to use home lead-t...
The Man in Room 117
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The Man in Room 117

Sam and Olga had concluded that only involuntary treatment could break the cycle for Andrey — something open-ended, combining long-term injectable medications with intensive therapy and counseling.They are part of a much larger ideological shift taking place, as communities grope for ways to manage ballooning homeless populations. California, one of the first states to turn away from involuntary treatment, has passed new laws expanding it. New York has made a billion-dollar investment in residential housing, psychiatric beds and wraparound services.Sam had staked his hopes on Washington’s new involuntary treatment law, and found it maddening that this fall, when Andrey was released, the new system was not yet active. His frustration was often directed toward civil rights advocates who oppo...
Jon Franklin, Pioneering Apostle of Literary Journalism, Dies at 82
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Jon Franklin, Pioneering Apostle of Literary Journalism, Dies at 82

Jon Franklin, an apostle of narrative short-story style journalism whose own work won the first Pulitzer Prizes awarded for feature writing and explanatory journalism, died on Sunday in Annapolis, Md. He was 82.His death, at a hospice, came less than two weeks after falling at his home, his wife, Lynn Franklin, said. He had also been treated for esophageal cancer for two years.An author, teacher, reporter and editor, Mr. Franklin championed the nonfiction style that was celebrated as New Journalism but that was actually vintage narrative storytelling, an approach that he insisted still adhere to the old-journalism standards of accuracy and objectivity.He imparted his thinking about the subject in “Writing for Story: Craft Secrets of Dramatic Nonfiction” (1986), which became a go-to how-to ...
Nitrogen Hypoxia: What to Know About This New Method of Execution
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Nitrogen Hypoxia: What to Know About This New Method of Execution

The planned execution of a death row inmate by the state of Alabama on Thursday evening will be carried out by a procedure that has never been used for capital punishment in the United States. The inmate, Kenneth Smith, who was convicted in a 1988 stabbing murder, will be put to death by inhaling nitrogen gas, a method known as nitrogen hypoxia.Supporters of the method say it is fast and painless. But earlier this month, the United Nations Human Rights Office urged Alabama to stop the execution, saying it could amount to torture and be in violation of human rights treaties that the United States has agreed to.Alabama would be the first state to use nitrogen hypoxia, but other states are interested in employing the method.What is nitrogen hypoxia?Hypoxia is a medical term for a state of ins...
FDA Issues Warning of Cancer Risk Tied to CAR-T Therapies
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FDA Issues Warning of Cancer Risk Tied to CAR-T Therapies

The Food and Drug Administration is requiring companies that make specialized cancer therapies known as CAR-T to add a boxed warning that the treatments themselves may cause cancers.The agency noted that the benefits still outweighed the risks of the therapy, which involves removing a type of white blood cells — T cells — and then genetically engineering them to create proteins called chimeric antigen receptors (CAR). Infused back into a patient’s blood, the engineered cells allow the T cells to attach to cancer cells and kill them.But the therapies, which mostly treat blood cancers, including multiple myeloma, had already carried a warning for dangerous immune responses and for neurological risks. And the new warning follows reports of about 25 cases of secondary cancers that federal heal...