Pfizer buys Global Blood Therapeutics; precaution threatened; Updated monkeypox vaccine strategy

Pfizer has agreed to buy Global Blood Therapeutics for $5.4 billion; Kelley v. Becerra threatens access to preventive care services protected by Affordable Care Act; Monkeypox vaccine doses are administered by intradermal injection rather than subcutaneously.

Pfizer buys Global Blood Therapeutics

As part of the transaction, Pfizer will pay $5.4 billion, or $68.50 per share, to purchase Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT). The Wall Street Journal reports. Because GBT has one of the few approved treatments for sickle cell disease, this agreement will give Pfizer a presence in the rare disease treatment space and help the company achieve its long-standing goal of selling treatments for the rare blood disorder. GBT’s sickle cell drug, Voxelotor (Oxbryta), was approved by the FDA in 2019 and the company currently has 2 sickle cell drugs in development.

Lawsuit seeks pension coverage under ACA

Kelley vs. Becerra, currently before a federal judge in Texas, is threatening an Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision that protects co-payment-free preventive insurance under most healthcare plans. NPR reports that if the judge rules in favor of the plaintiffs, access to free birth control, HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, cancer screening, vaccines, counseling for certain medical conditions and many other preventive services will be at risk. Plaintiffs say ACA screening mandates violate the Restoration of Religious Freedom Act, while doctors argue removing the provision would limit access to colorectal cancer and chronic disease screening, immunizations, contraceptives and many other services.

FDA adjusts monkeypox vaccine strategy

Today, the Biden administration will announce a new FDA strategy to five-fold increase the number of Americans vaccinated against monkeypox with a limited supply. The Washington Post reports. Under the new strategy, vaccine doses are injected intradermally rather than subcutaneously. According to the FDA, this method requires only one-fifth the original dosage amount and does not compromise safety or efficacy. This announcement comes as monkeypox cases reach nearly 9,000 in the United States, according to the CDC.

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