OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Senate passes Prescription Drug User Fee Act 96-1

The Hill has the story on Thursday’s vote.

Relitigating reimportation: The overall FDA bill was far less controversial than Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) amendment to allow the importation of lower-priced prescription drugs from Canada and other countries. The Senate has voted many, many times on reimportation over the past several years, and it never passes. McCain addressed the amendment’s failure even before the vote, chalking it up to another lobbying victory by the pharmaceutical industry.

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The amendment’s GOP supporters also slammed President Obama for saying he supports reimportation but neglecting to make a big push for the policy.

"[Obama] shouldn't have made a deal with the pharmaceutical companies on ObamaCare two years ago," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said.

"We'd be importing drugs already. He's two years late," Grassley said.

Healthwatch has the story.

Coverage, but not for birth control: The Vatican said the Catholic Church is "committed to universal healthcare coverage" in a release Thursday that described a speech by one of its leaders before the World Health Assembly. The statement comes as the U.S. Catholic Church is embroiled in a fight with the Obama administration over the contraception mandate included in the healthcare law, which represented a major step toward universal coverage. Groups including the University of Notre Dame filed a wave of new suits on Monday, bringing the total number of cases now pending over the mandate to more than 30, and criticism of the administration by Catholic leaders has been sharp.

Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski told the meeting in Geneva on Wednesday that the Vatican supports Resolution WHA64.9, a measure that would urge countries to "plan the transition of their health systems to universal coverage." He highlighted the role of Catholic institutions in providing healthcare to the underprivileged worldwide and working "toward universal access." He added that governments should support the groups' efforts without "obliging them to participate in activities they find morally abhorrent."

Healthwatch has more.

State by state

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal launched a childhood obesity initiative, The Associated Press reports. Nearly 40 percent of the state's kids are overweight or obese — the second-highest rate in the country.

A bill moving through the Michigan legislature would double the health insurance premiums of retired state lawmakers, the Detroit News reports.

A top medical official in New Mexico's Health Department was forced to resign for advocating the use of condoms to control STDs in an interview. The Albuquerque Journal has more.

New Mexico also has the highest rate of fatal injuries in the United States, a report found. The Santa Fe Mexican has the story.

The New Hampshire Senate killed a bill to create a 24-hour waiting period for abortions, The Associated Press reports.


Lobbying registrations


Hannegan Landau Advocacy / Lifeway Foods

Share Our Strength / self-registration

Hannegan Landau Advocacy / Weight Watchers International


Bill tracker

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced bills to "amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide an income tax credit for eldercare expenses" and to "develop a model disclosure form to assist consumers in purchasing long-term care insurance."

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced a bill to "amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to extend, expand, and improve the qualifying therapeutic discovery project program."


Reading list


Architects of "RomneyCare" say that the Obama administration's $20 million PR investment for the healthcare law is exactly the right move, The Washington Post reports.

The Massachusetts Senate approved a measure similar to the federal proposal that gave rise to Sarah Palin's "death panels" comment. WBUR has more.

Controversy is mounting over "conversion therapy," which claims to make gay people straight but has been dismissed by mainstream American psychologists. The Associated Press has more.

McDonald's investors rejected a shareholder proposal to analyze the company's impact on childhood obesity, Reuters reports.

Reuters adds that obesity is not always tied to higher heart risk, according to a new U.K. study.


What you might have missed on Healthwatch


Senate defeats McCain amendment on Canadian pharmacies

Senate defeats amendment meant to speed up access to generic drugs

Senate panel repeals 'global gag rule' on abortion funding

Senate approves bill striking word 'lunatic' from federal law


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