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Florida gets FDA's OK to import lower-cost medicines from Canada

Florida gets FDA's OK to import lower-cost medicines from Canada

Almost five years after Florida began pursuing the idea, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a plan that will allow the state to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. The federal agency approved the importation program for two years, saying Florida had met requirements to show that it “will significantly reduce the cost of covered products to the American consumer without posing additional risk to the public’s health and safety.” More from the News Service of Florida and NPR.

Planning ahead for the costs of Alzheimer's disease in Florida is key

Long-term memory care in Florida could cost more than $100,000 a year. On average, receiving residential Alzheimer's care averages about $8,349 per month in the state. The Legislature convenes again in Tallahassee on Jan. 9, and during this session, advocates plan to push state lawmakers to increase funding for Florida’s Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative. One of its roles is to help pay for respite care to give family members a break — though the program has a wait list of about 17,000 people. [Source: WLRN]

Legislature's microscope focuses on ensuring Floridians can access health care

Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo is making access to health care her top priority for the legislative session, which begins Tuesday in Tallahassee. She’s outlined plans for bills to expand the state’s health care workforce and encourage innovation in the health care field. And, Passidomo says she expects lawmakers to file at least a dozen other measures that could fit into her Live Healthy initiative. Passidomo says the primary goal of Live Healthy is making sure Floridians have access to the care they need. [Source: Health News Florida]

Other states require insurers to cover breast cancer testing. Should Florida join them?

N. Diane Holmes’ first bout with breast cancer began in 1994 at 38 years old, when her routine breast exam revealed a small lump. The pressing question on her mind: Am I going to die? The battle ahead of her was tough enough. She was grateful that her insurance covered most of the costs associated with her diagnosis, allowing her to get treated early and easily. But not everyone is so fortunate — and in Florida, unlike many other states, the law doesn’t do much to limit costs for women after that first, free exam. That’s why Holmes and others are supporting legislation requiring insurers to cover more testing, which they say will encourage women to seek the care they need. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

COVID-19 variant JN.1 leads a new surge of cases in Florida

COVID-19 variant JN.1 is driving a rise in cases brought on by the winter months. In the beginning of December, the variant made up about 20% of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Now, JN.1 accounts for about 60% of cases, according to federal health data from the last two weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the proportion of JN.1 COVID cases in the region that includes Florida and surrounding states is at 59.2%. [Source: WUSF]

See also:
» Florida surgeon general wants stop on COVID vaccine based on claim refuted by FDA


› Moffitt must pay back $19 million to federal government for false claims
The Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute has agreed to reimburse $19.5 million to state and federal governments after it emerged the nonprofit wrongly billed federal health care programs for clinical care provided during research trials. The claims to Medicare and Medicaid were made over a 6-year period through 2020, according to the Department of Justice.

› As children's mental health issues rise, a new Orlando-area clinic offers free service
A Central Florida mental health clinic is expanding its services to uninsured children free of charge. The Mental Health Association of Central Florida is expanding its services to Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Brevard, Lake, and Polk counties to meet the crisis needs of ages 6 to 17. "We have seen during and post-pandemic the impact of children and adolescents coming to our area hospitals and emergency departments with a myriad of issues," said Marni Stahlman president and CEO of the Mental Health Association of Central Florida.

› Kettering Health to close Emergency Dept. at one Miami County facility
One Kettering Health facility will soon be without an Emergency Department. On Feb. 1, the Emergency Department at Kettering Health Piqua will close. “During the past 18 months, there has been a significant shift in the type of care needed, resulting in fewer true emergency cases and a growing need for other types of care,” a statement from Kettering Health said. They will turn their focus to growing primary care services at the Piqua facility.

› An appeals court will weigh a patient drug dispute in a case involving Publix
An appeals court this month will hear arguments in a long-running battle pitting the Publix supermarket chain and insurers against a state agency and doctors over rules for dispensing medications to injured workers. The case involves whether workers’ compensation insurers should be required to reimburse physicians who dispense medications to people injured on the job. Publix and the insurers say drugs should be dispensed at pharmacies.