Trending News Today: Opioid Awareness Efforts Target Elementary Schools

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

A patient group recently filed a lawsuit against the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in an effort to block Gilead Sciences from being awarded an exclusive license for an experimental cancer therapy, according to a report by STAT. The suit argues that the manufacturer may place a high cost on new chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies that restrict access for many patients with cancer. In December 2017, the NIH stated plans to award a worldwide exclusive license for a CAR-T treatment developed with taxpayer funds to Kite Pharma, which was purchased by Gilead, according to the article.

The Trump administration announced plans to roll back health care protections in place for transgender individuals, according to a report by The New York Times. Under the existing rule enacted during the Obama administration, doctors, hospitals, and health insurance companies are prevented from discriminating against transgender people. The White House stated that a federal judge ruled part of the protections are unlawful, according to the report. Advocates for the protections said rolling them back could mitigate significant improvements transgender people have gained accessing medical care, such as gender reassignment surgeries, which many insurers previously denied coverage for, according to the Times.

In Ohio, which has been particularly hard hit by the opioid epidemic, efforts to increase awareness about the dangers of substance abuse have begun targeting students in kindergarten, according to the Washington Post. In 2016, 4329 people died of a drug overdose in Ohio, which is second only to West Virginia. The drug abuse prevention education program prompts teachers to discuss real-world situations and how to deal with them instead of relying on facts about the dangers of illicit drug use in order to develop social and emotional skills thought to reduce the risk of abuse.