Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.
Recent study findings indicate significant health disparities between transgender individuals and those who are cisgender, meaning their gender identity matches their gender at birth. According to the Los Angeles Times, investigators examined survey responses from 314,450 cisgender and 1443 transgender participants. Overall, the results of the study showed that transgender individuals were younger, poorer, less white, and more likely to be unemployed compared with their cisgender counterparts, the LA Times reported. There were also significant differences regarding health among the 2 groups. Twenty-nine percent of transgender adults rated their overall health as fair or poor compared with 17% of cisgender adults. Furthermore, transgender adults were more likely to be overweight. There were 72% of transgender adults who had a mass index of at least 25, which qualified them as overweight, compared with 66% of cisgender adults. The investigators also found that transgender adults were more likely to be uninsured, let health problems go untreated, have depression, and have more cognitive issues. The authors noted that the results are based on survey responses from only a portion of the states, and that it may not reflect the health status of transgender individuals across the country, the LA Times reported. However, the authors concluded in the LA Times report that the “study confirms that gender minority adults in the United States experience health disparities compared with their cisgender peers.”
As the US Army gears up to grant Sanofi Pasteur exclusive license to manufacture and sell a Zika vaccine developed by the Army last year, state officials are worried about the cost. “God forbid we have a Zika outbreak,” Rebekah Gee, Louisiana’s secretary of health, told NPR. “We’re in the middle of a fiscal crisis, we’re already cutting services to people, and we’re already potentially cutting out funding to fight the Zika virus.” If the deal goes through, Sanofi could potentially set the price at a level that is unaffordable. Last week, several groups that included Doctors without Borders and Knowledge Ecology International appealed to the army to delay granting Sanofi the exclusive license until after the company agrees to reasonable price terms, NPR reported.
Los Angeles surgeon Patrick Soon-Shiong has been appointed to an HHS committee, which will advise the Trump administration on policy around health information technology. According to Politico, Soon-Shiong has lead a network of for-profit and not-for-profit ventures conducting cancer research, but news organizations have questioned potential conflicts of interest. An investigation conducted by Politico found that most of the expenditures of Soon-Shiong’s nonprofit research organizations flow to businesses and not-for-profits that he controls himself. Furthermore, a majority of the grants have gone to entities that have business deals with Soon-Shiong’s for-profit firms, reported Politico.