Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes | Senators press FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately | House panel tees up e-cig hearing for next week

Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes | Senators press FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately | House panel tees up e-cig hearing for next week
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Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care.

More vaping fallout: Walmart is taking a stance and will not longer sell e-cigarettes. And on Capitol Hill, senators want FDA to enact a near total ban immediately. Also on drug pricing, at least one House Democrat wants changes to Speaker Pelosi's bill.

We'll start with vaping news...


Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes

Walmart announced Friday it will stop selling e-cigarettes as federal and state governments crack down on the vaping industry. 

"Given the growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity and uncertainty regarding e-cigarettes, we plan to discontinue the sale of electronic nicotine delivery products at all Walmart and Sam's Club U.S. locations," a Walmart spokesperson said Friday. "We will complete our exit after selling through current inventory."


It was a quick policy change for the nation's largest retailer. It was just over two months ago that the corporation raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 in an attempt to prevent the sale of tobacco and e-cigarettes to anyone under age. 

At the same time, the company said it was "in the process" of discontinuing the sales of fruit and dessert flavored vaping products. 

But last week, the Trump administration said it will remove flavored e-cigarettes from the market until they can be reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration.

Walmart's announcement of a full ban indicates the company just didn't think it was worth the hassle of continuing to sell the products. 

Read more here





In other vaping news:


Bipartisan senators urge FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately

A bipartisan group of senators on Friday called for the acting head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to remove most e-cigarettes from the market immediately until they can be proven safe.

Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats see Mulvaney as smoking gun witness at Trump trial Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment MORE (D-Ill.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiKaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Romney: 'It's very likely I'll be in favor of witnesses' in Trump impeachment trial Trump defense team signals focus on Schiff MORE (R-Alaska), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Dems to Pompeo: Comments about NPR reporter 'insulting and contemptuous' Environmentalists, Oregon senators oppose DOT increasing transport of natural gas by rail Senate Democrat says he is concerned intelligence community is 'bending' Soleimani presentations MORE (D-Ore.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sent a letter to acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless urging him to pull all pod- and cartridge-based e-cigarettes. 

FDA last week said flavored e-cigarette products would not be allowed back on the market unless or until they can prove a "net public health benefit." Durbin and the other senators said the agency should apply that standard to all e-cigarettes. 

"[G]iven the unique popularity and threat posed to children, the same reasonable restrictions and presumption of public health impact that are being imposed upon flavored products, should immediately be imposed upon cartridge-based e-cigarettes," the senators wrote.

The FDA was initially supposed to begin reviewing e-cigarettes last summer, but the deadline was pushed back to 2022. But public health groups sued and as a result of the lawsuit, the agency will begin accepting applications next May.

Read more here


Next week: House committee to hold hearing on 'the public health threat of e-cigarettes'

The House Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee will hold a hearing on the "public health impacts and regulatory authorities related to e-cigarette manufacturing, sales and use." FDA's Sharpless will testify, along with a handful of state health department chiefs. 


House Dem pushes for addition to drug pricing bill

Rep. Steven HorsfordSteven Alexander HorsfordDemocrats launch bilingual ad campaign off drug pricing bill Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising Mass shootings have hit 158 House districts so far this year MORE (D-Nev.) is pushing to add his SPIKE Act to the drug pricing legislation that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiClinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views on misinformation Trump defense team signals focus on Schiff Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president MORE (D-Calif.) unveiled on Thursday. 

Horsford is a member of the Ways and Means Committee, so he will have a chance to offer the measure as an amendment when the drug pricing bill is marked up in October. 

The SPIKE Act, which has a Republican cosponsor in Rep. Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedTrump's Dingell insults disrupt GOP unity amid impeachment House votes to temporarily repeal Trump SALT deduction cap Trump shocks, earns GOP rebukes with Dingell remarks MORE (R-N.Y.), would require drug companies to submit justifications for price increases over a certain threshold. 

Overall, Horsford praised Pelosi's bill, saying lowering drug prices is the "number one" issue he hears about from constituents. 


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What we're reading

As drugmakers face opioid lawsuits, some ask: why not criminal charges too? (NPR)

How Congress failed to act on the fentanyl crisis (The Washington Post)

Sales of illicit vaping products find home online (The Wall Street Journal)

How an international price index might help reduce drug prices (NPR


State by state

Angry about high drug prices? A powerful New Jersey Democrat is leading effort to lower them (NJ.com)

Missouri opioid prescribing rate went up 10 percent In 2018, program finds (KBIA)

In Massachusetts and beyond, state lawmakers push for Medicaid coverage of birth doulas (WBUR)