Trending News Today: New Legislation Targets High Drug Cost Transparency

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Nevada Gov Brian Sandoval signed the nation’s strictest bill targeting drug costs into law on Thursday, according to ABC News. It will require pharmaceutical companies to annually disclose drug list prices, profits made, and discounts given to market middlemen on insulin. Additionally, drug manufacturers must also provide state officials with written explanations regarding any insulin price hikes that surpass the previous years’ inflation rates, or are higher than twice the inflation rate of the previous 2 years. Market experts argue that transparency alone will not lower patient costs, but supporters of the bill said that it will start conversations, at the very least.

Chronic Lyme disease is controversial because there is no evidence that the bacteria remains in the body, and unproven treatments are resulting in a growing number of individuals with severe infections. In a new study, the authors used data from 5 cases to illustrate the negative impact a chronic Lyme diagnosis can have on a patient. According to Live Science, the investigators found most individuals who received treatments for chronic Lyme did not likely have the disease. One case described a teenage girl with muscle and joint pain, backaches, headaches, and lethargy for years, which resulted in a chronic Lyme disease diagnosis. She received antibiotics both orally and intravenously for 5 months, but experienced no improvements. Although the antibiotics were stopped, the catheter was left in and the girl developed a bacterial infection that spread to her blood, causing septic shock. It took several weeks of hospitalization for her to recover. “Chronic Lyme disease is a misleading term that should be avoided,” the authors concluded, as reported by Live Science.

A new report by the Environmental Defense Fund found that over a decade-long period, approximately 20% of baby food samples had traces of lead. According to NPR, the nonprofit group collected and analyzed data from the FDA between 2003 and 2013, which included 2164 samples of baby food. The results of the study showed that 89% of grape juice samples, 86% of sweet potato samples, and 47% of teething biscuit samples contained detectable levels of lead. “The levels we found were relatively low, but when you add them up—–with all the foods children eat––it’s significant,” author Tom Neltner told NPR. Although none of the samples appeared to exceed the allowable levels of lead by the FDA, the agency said it is in the process of reviewing its standards because there is concern that current standards do not reflect the newest science about the potential health risks.