✦ Moderna, Inc. and Pfizer Inc./ BioNTech said on Jan. 25 that their vaccines are effective against new variants of the virus discovered in South Africa and the United Kingdom, the New York Times reported. However, the drugmakers said their vaccines are slightly less protective against the South African variant, and therefore Moderna said it is developing a booster shot against that variant as a precautionary measure. Meanwhile, on Jan. 20, President Joe Biden said the government is aiming to vaccinate 300 million Americans by early fall. Read more at https://nyti.ms/36llVuq.
✦ The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) pays far less than Medicare Part D for most prescription drugs. According to the report, the VA “paid, on average, 54 percent less per unit for a sample of 399 brand-name and generic prescription drugs in 2017 as did Medicare Part D, even after accounting for applicable rebates and price concessions in the Part D program.” The VA’s average price paid for generics is 68% lower than Medicare prices and 49% lower for brand name drugs. This may be due to key structural differences in the programs, suggested the report. Read more at https://bit.ly/2M9ltJ0.