Morning RX: June 5, 2023


Mandy Cohen is set to become the next CDC director, Medicare will cover a new class of Alzheimer’s drugs, and the WHO announces a landmark digital health initiative.

Biden Administration to Tap Mandy Cohen as New CDC Director

Mandy Cohen, the former secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services, is set to be named the next director of the CDC, according to the New York Times. Cohen, an internal medicine physician, was previously the Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. She served as secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services from 2017 to 2021, leading the department through the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the Biden Administration is still working on the necessary paperwork to fill the position, Cohen is reportedly the leading candidate.

New Class of Expensive Alzheimer’s Drug to be Covered by Medicare

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Thursday that a new class of Alzheimer’s drugs will be covered for anyone enrolled in the outpatient program who meets the criteria, the Washington Post reported. The decision came after a heated lobbying campaign by drugmakers and patient advocates. The drugs, which target amyloid plaque in the brain, are some of the first medications shown to impact the disease and help slow cognitive decline. The FDA could potentially approve the first drug by this summer, which would need to occur before Medicare begins paying.

WHO Announces Plan to Launch Landmark Digital Health Initiative

The WHO announced today its plan to launch a landmark digital health partnership with the European Commission, which will build on the European Union’s system of digital COVID-19 certification. The initiative aims to “establish a global system that will help facilitate global mobility and protect citizens across the world from on-going and future health threats.” It will be the first installment of the WHO’s Global Digital Health Certification Network, which will create a range of digital health products. The organization plans to launch the system this month and to progressively develop it in the coming months.

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