Hello and happy hump day, readers.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a new law that will allow pharmacies in the state to dispense HIV-prevention medications—such as the so-called PrEP products that have halted HIV transmission among vulnerable communities to a stunning extent in clinical trials—to many people who don’t have a prescription.
“Recent breakthroughs in the prevention and treatment of HIV can literally save lives,” said Newsom in a statement. “All Californians deserve access to PrEP… I applaud the Legislature for taking action to expand access to these treatments and getting us close to ending HIV and AIDS for good.”
There’s been a groundswell of support for these kinds of HIV-prevention drugs, given their impressive efficacy record, among both the state and federal agencies.
Gilead, the biotech giant that makes Truvada (one of the most prominent treatments in the space), announced a proposed deal with the Trump administration earlier this year to donate thousands of doses for free—at least until the next iteration of the drug comes to market.
The California effort, in the meantime, is meant to address disparities in HIV drug access in rural and isolated communities.
Read on for the day’s news.
Sy Mukherjee, @the_sy_guy, email@example.com
NYC sues online e-cig companies over age verification concerns. New York City is stepping up its ongoing war on e-cigarette manufacturers, according to Reuters, suing some two dozen online retailers over a pretty fundamental issue: How the heck do you verify a customer's age over the internet? “The kids of New York are the pride of our city, but to these companies, they’re just a source of profit,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “Preying on minors and hooking them on a potentially lethal, lifelong nicotine addiction is unconscionable.” (Reuters)
Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $8 billion in Risperdal verdict that will probably be slashed. Drug giant J&J has been ordered to pay $8 billion to a plaintiff who alleges the company's antipsychotic drug Risperdal can lead to breast enlargement in men (the punitive damages awarded by a Philadelphia jury add to existing claims that J&J hadn't done enough to warn patients of the risk—all claims that J&J vehemently objects to). The eye-popping jury award, however, will almost certainly be slashed down to a significantly smaller sum if past history is any guidance. (BBC News)
THE BIG PICTURE
Kaiser extends social determinants of health push with childhood trauma pilot. Nonprofit health system Kaiser Permanente is committing $2.75 million to a pilot, childhood trauma study meant to suss out how devastating, early-life events may affect people's health in the long term. This meshes with Kaiser's existing projects on the social determinants of health, such as the effects of homelessness, poverty, and environmental inequity on people's mental and physical wellbeing.
Artificial Intelligence Could Be a $14 Trillion Boon to the Global Economy—If It Can Overcome These Obstacles, by Bernhard Warner
IRS' New Cryptocurrency Rules Create 'Messy' Problems for Industry, by Jeff John Roberts
Helping Young People Into the Workforce, by Alan Murray
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