Health Highlights: Sept. 24 2015
Outrage Prompts Daraprim Price Reduction Yogi Berra Dies at Age 90 Health Insurance Deductibles Rising Faster Than Workers' Wages
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Outrage Prompts Daraprim Price Reduction
A drug company that raised the price of the drug Daraprim by more than 5,000 percent will lower the cost of the life-saving medication.
Turing Pharmaceuticals' founder and CEO Martin Shkreli announced the decision Tuesday. He did not say what the new price would be, but said it would be determined over the next few weeks, NBC News reported.
Daraprim is used to treat toxoplasmosis, an infection that is particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, including those with HIV/AIDS, and pregnant women, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Turing bought the drug from Impax Laboratories in August and raised the price from $13.50 to $750 a pill, sparking widespread outrage. The harsh criticism is the reason for the decision to lower the price, according to Shkreli.
"Yes it is absolutely a reaction -- there were mistakes made with respect to helping people understand why we took this action, I think that it makes sense to lower the price in response to the anger that was felt by people," Shkreli told NBC News.
The price will be reduced to a point where the company can break even or make a small profit.
When the huge price increase for Daraprim was made public, the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association said "this cost is unjustifiable for the medically vulnerable patient population in need of this medication."
The drug's massive price hike prompted Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to announce a plan to limit how much patients have to pay out of pocket for medications each month.
Yogi Berra Dies at Age 90
Baseball legend Yogi Berra died Tuesday night at age 90, the Yogi Berra Museum said.
The son of Italian immigrants is considered one of the greatest catchers in baseball history and was part of a New York Yankees dynasty that won 10 World Series championships, CNN reported.
But Berra was perhaps even better known for his unique sayings, such as "It ain't over till it's over."
Other famous phrases include "It's deja vu all over again," and "When you come to a fork in the road, take it," CNN reported.
Berra was also the inspiration for the cartoon character Yogi Bear.
Health Insurance Deductibles Rising Faster Than Workers' Wages
Health insurance deductibles have risen more than six times faster than American workers' average wages since 2010, a Kaiser Family Foundation report says.
"It's a very powerful trend," Drew Altman, chief executive of the health policy research group, told The New York Times.
Eighty percent of workers who have coverage through their employer now pay a deductible. For those employees, deductibles for an individual plan rose from a yearly average of $900 in 2010 to $1,300 this year, the Kaiser analysis found.
The average deductible for workers in small businesses is even higher at $1,800 a year, and one in five workers has a deductible of $2,000 or more, The Times reported.
Many policies sold under the Affordable Care Act through state exchanges rely on high deductibles to keep premiums low, and some businesses increased their deductibles to reduce higher costs associated with the federal health care law, Altman said.