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Amazon Wants To Sell You New Things On Subscription: Prescription Drugs

The retail giant is launching the medication delivery service RxPass, a $5-a-month service for Amazon Prime members. It’s aimed at consumers with common conditions. Advertising for “orphan drugs,” transplant lists for Black kidney failure patients, and more are also in the news.

Modern Healthcare:
Amazon Launches RxPass To Expand Healthcare Footprint

Amazon is expanding its push into healthcare with the introduction of a generic drug subscription service aimed at consumers with common conditions like high blood pressure, acid reflux or anxiety. The medication delivery service, RxPass, costs $5 per month for Amazon Prime members. Amazon Prime costs either $14.99 per month or $139 annually. (Turner, 1/24)

Amazon Launches A Subscription Prescription Drug Service 

The company said the flat fee could cover a list of medications like the antibiotic amoxicillin and the anti-inflammatory drug naproxen. Sildenafil also made the list. It’s used to treat erectile dysfunction under the brand name Viagra and also treats a form of high blood pressure. Amazon sells a range of generic drugs through its pharmacy service. Some already cost as low as $1 for a 30-day supply, so the benefit of this new program will vary by customer. (Murphy and Hadero, 1/24)

In other pharmaceutical industry news —

USA Today:
Black Kidney Failure Patients Now Can Get On Transplant Lists Sooner

Black people are almost four times as likely to be diagnosed with renal failure as white people — but many are often diagnosed late and it takes longer to get on transplant lists. That’s because of an antiquated kidney function test that can overestimate kidney function in Black patients, masking the severity of their kidney disease and resulting in late diagnosis and delayed transplant referrals. (Hassanein, 1/23)

Predictive Biomarkers Could Ease Trial-And-Error Of Antidepressants

When a patient is suffering from depression and considering medication, practically all physicians have the same go-to treatment: a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Patients start on a low dose and slowly increase it. It may take weeks for the drug to work, if it works. If not, a cycle begins. Wean off the SSRI, wean onto a new medication. All the while, the patient must manage depressive symptoms along with any side effects of a medication, which, counterintuitively, can include suicidal thoughts. (Gaffney, 1/24)

Promising Gene Therapy Delivers Treatment Directly To Brain

When Rylae-Ann Poulin was a year old, she didn’t crawl or babble like other kids her age. A rare genetic disorder kept her from even lifting her head. Her parents took turns holding her upright at night just so she could breathe comfortably and sleep. Then, months later. doctors delivered gene therapy directly to her brain. Now the 4-year-old is walking, running, swimming, reading and riding horses — “just doing so many amazing things that doctors once said were impossible,” said her mother, Judy Wei. (Ungar, 1/24)

Arguments Begin In Case Over Use Of Medically Important Antibiotic On Citrus Trees

Oral arguments begin today in a lawsuit challenging the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its approval of the antibiotic streptomycin for use as a pesticide on citrus trees. … In addition to worries about the effect on citrus workers, insects, and mammals that forage in treated fields, there are concerns that spraying streptomycin in citrus trees could select for antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the environment. (Dall, 1/23)

In obituaries —

In updates from the World Health Organization —

WHO Seeks $2.5 Billion To Battle Health Emergencies

The World Health Organization on Monday launched a funding appeal for $2.54 billion to help people facing health emergencies across the world. … The organization is responding to what it says is an unprecedented 54 health emergencies around the world including 11 which it classifies as the highest Grade 3 level including the war in Ukraine; outbreaks of cholera and mpox in Democratic Republic of Congo and malnutrition in Somalia. (1/23)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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