PHARMACY

Senate passes revised SCHIP despite expectations of a second veto

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON The U.S. Senate passed a revised health insurance bill Friday, said to provide coverage approximately 10 million children, despite anticipating it will be vetoed.

The 64-to-30 vote comes one week after the House approved the same bill. The reworked bill differs slightly from one vetoed on Oct. 3, but politicians fear the worst. On Thursday, debate over the bill had been cut short. According to the New York Times, Senate Republican leaders “objected to Democratic requests to allow more time for the bipartisan negotiations seeking a compromise. The purpose of the talks was to win over enough House Republicans to override the veto promised by the president.”

The Democrats may continue following the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) current plan, however, several state governments fear that they will run out of money in the mean time.

The new legislation, like the original bill, would preserve coverage for 6.6 million children and add nearly 4 million to the rolls. The bill would add $35 billion to the program, providing a total of $60 billion over five years. The additional money would come from higher tobacco taxes, including a 61-cent increase in the cigarette tax, to $1 a pack.

President Bush objects to the projected increase in tobacco taxes, but Congress, as of now, is not considering any other way to pay for the bill.

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N.J. Rep. criticizes FDA over weaker antidepressant warnings for children

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON Rep. Mike Ferguson, R-N.J., is criticizing the Food and Drug Administration, for its revised antidepressant medication guides because the warnings for children take the medications have been weakened compared to the old guide.

Ferguson said the guides include more generalized information regarding the risks for children, teenagers and young adults taking antidepressants. He also stated that the new guides use a generic warning that combines all three age groups into one category and abbreviates safety information. 

In October 2003, the FDA issued an advisory warning of the increased risk of suicide in pediatric patients taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for depression. After reviewing more data from pediatric studies, the agency told antidepressant manufacturers to revise their product labeling to include the risk of suicide in children and adolescents.

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Herbert Luther appointed Perrigo’s VP of global regulatory affairs

BY Drew Buono

ALLEGAN, Mich. Perrigo has announced that Herbert Luther will become the company’s vice president, global regulatory affairs.

In this role, Luther will be responsible for developing and executing regulatory-submission strategies, ensuring best practices, and implementing technologies to enhance efficiency.

Luther has over 20 years experience in the development of regulatory and clinical strategies. Before joining Perrigo, he worked at KV Pharmaceuticals, where he was vice president of regulatory/clinical affairs. Before that, he served as director of regulatory affairs at Barr Laboratories.

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