The Weekly Roundup: Measles Outbreak Breaking Records (5.3.19)
This week, Merck announced it was responding to an uptick in demand for the measles vaccine during the largest outbreak in a quarter century. From January to April 26 this year, the CDC reports 704 cases have been confirmed in 22 states. Offshore, a cruise ship has been quarantined after a confirmed case of measles was reported, with broad exposure among passengers feared. A 2015 New York bill to drop religious exemptions for vaccinations is stalled despite the area being one of the heaviest hit by the outbreak. California and Vermont removed exemptions four years ago, and Washington State—another state hit hard this year—moved quickly to pass a bill that takes away a parent’s right to refuse vaccination for personal reasons, but religious and medical exemptions remain. With more than half of patients preferring vaccination at their pharmacy rather than their doctor’s office, pharmacists are on the front line in the epidemic. Feel free to share this audio program with your patients to help educate them on the science behind vaccinations. Meanwhile, back in New York where the bill languishes, its sponsor, Jeffrey Dinowitz, has said the exemption gives too much of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children: “They just don’t want their kids vaccinated because they bought into the nonsense on the internet,” he said. “And you can’t convince them that they’re wrong.” Word, Mr. Dinowitz.
Here are a few other stories that might be of interest:
- Good idea: Walgreens has announced a program training pharmacists in mental health first aid.
- Is your pharmacy family owned? Here’s some advice on handling conflict.
- On the hot seat: Congress is moving rapidly on two bills demanding greater scrutiny of PBM practices.
- The FDA is under fire for failing to place warnings on some Parkinson’s medications.
- West Virginia attorney general, Patrick Morrisey, has announced a $37 million settlement in its opioid-related lawsuit against McKesson.
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