Trending News Today: Researchers Study Statins for Treatment of Flu

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

Researchers are exploring whether statins can be used as a treatment for the flu, NPR reported. According to the article, in addition to lowering blood cholesterol levels, statins also reduce inflammation. Previous studies have shown mixed results, but some indicate that there is a benefit for patients with the flu, the article reported. For the study, the researchers randomized patients who showed up in the emergency department with the flu to be treated with either a placebo or atorvastatin. According to the researchers, they hope to have the results analyzed by the next flu season.

In a speech at a health policy conference on Monday, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar discussed recent drug price increases, The Hill reported. According to the article, Azar commented that “change is coming to prescription drug pricing,” following recent price hikes by manufacturers, including Pfizer, on their prescription drugs. Azar said that the administration is looking at reforming Medicaid by ending rebates, claiming that “the time for using rebates to buy formulary access, we have suggested, may soon be coming to an end,” the article reported.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed a 5-year contract with the federal government to enact the state’s all-payer health care model, the Associated Press reported. According to the article, the Maryland Model provides incentives across the health system to improve care while lowering costs, with an emphasis on the quality of care over the quantity of care. Although the state will be relieved of federal restrictions of the Medicare program, it will have to meet benchmarks of improving access to health care while improving quality and reducing costs, the article reported.