On Friday, President Trump signed four executive orders focused on lowering prescription drug costs for Americans.
A deeper dive The four orders aim to bring U.S. drug prices in line with international pricing and, if finalized, make sweeping changes to the prescription drug market.
First Order: Aims to cut insulin and epinephrine prices by requiring federal community health centers to pass discounts they receive on the drugs directly to patients.
Second Order: Allows pharmacies, states, and wholesalers to import medications from Canada and other countries (which usually cost less than in the U.S.).
Third Order: Strives to eliminate “middlemen,” who, according to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, are paid ~$150B in undisclosed funds.
Fourth Order: Requires companies to sell drugs to Medicare at the same price that other countries pay (though Trump said he might not need to implement it).
Some opponents claim the orders could offer some relief but would take many months to implement. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) accused the president of recycling old proposals with delayed action to “appease his pals at Big Pharma.”
What’s next? Trump will meet with pharmaceutical company executives Tuesday, and plans to withhold the fourth order until August 24th. The orders are subject to regulatory review, and it may take months for the Trump administration to finalize them.
A similar bill aimed to lower the cost of prescription drugs passed in the House last year, but has not been taken up by the Senate.
So… what are people saying?
As He Woos Drugmakers on Virus, Trump Demands Drug Price Controls
Major virus news: The CDC changed its guidance on isolating COVID-19 patients, now recommending ten days of isolation after symptoms first appear (down from two weeks).
Protests Continue Across U.S.
Protests against racial injustice continued in at least eight major locales over the weekend. Local police in Seattle and Portland declared riots Saturday night due to ongoing public safety risks. Tense situations also unfolded in Austin, TX (where a man was shot and killed), and in Louisville, KY (where two armed militia groups converged but avoided violence).
On Friday, Beijing ordered the U.S. consulate in Chengdu to shut down within 72 hours. The retaliatory move comes after the U.S. ordered China’s Houston consulate to close last week after accusing its diplomats of stealing data.
Sport and fitness tech giant Garmin is experiencing an ongoing global outage reportedly caused by a ransomware attack. Per TechCrunch, the incident began late last Wednesday and continued through the weekend and into Monday, causing disruption to the company’s online services for millions of users. In a brief update, Garmin said it had “no indication” that the breach has affected user data.
The U.S. Space Force debuted its official logo – a skyward-pointing delta shape containing Polaris, the North Star – on Friday, to go along with the seal it unveiled back in January. The newest American military branch also announced a motto: “Semper Supra” (“always above”).
More: Go behind the scenes of Space Force and America’s fight for superiority in the space arms race.
Worth Noting: Rivian has begun a pilot production run at its plant in Normal, IN. The company said deliveries of its R1T electric pickup truck will begin in June 2021.
One(sie) Shining Moment
When Sydnee Geril of Ocala, FL, began receiving chemotherapy for rare bone cancer in 2017, she discovered that the strenuous treatment caused her to faint frequently. To avoid using a wheelchair, Sydnee adopted Tulsa, a German Shepherd who warns her owner before she loses consciousness. However, when the pandemic hit in March, Sydnee had to be quarantined from Tulsa for fear that her service dog’s fur could transmit the virus to her weak immune system.
In May, Sydnee and Tulsa were reunited after the 25-year-old purchased a onesie for her canine companion that minimizes shedding and thus decreases the dog’s chances of spreading the virus. The two-year-old Tulsa, who wears booties on her feet for additional safety, boosts Sydnee’s confidence and health with her presence.
Mask, And You Shall Receive
As businesses and government systems around the country increasingly encourage the use of face masks in public spaces and essential stores, one group of people has been largely overlooked – those experiencing homelessness. These members of the population, who rely on public places for shelter but do not have access to masks, are especially vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19.
In response to this lack of personal protective equipment, the clothing brand Hanes is donating 1 million face masks to homeless communities across America. Hanes, which distributes the coverings in cooperation with the homelessness advocacy group, Invisible People, also launched the social media campaign #MaskAround to encourage young people to follow social distancing measures.
Half Of My Heart
Ever since they first met, best friends Thomas Cook and Joseph Feeney of Elk Mound, WI, have shared almost everything, from stories to meals to vacations. The two fishing buddies are so committed to making memories together that in 1992 they committed to a fantastical pact: if either of them ever won the Powerball lottery, they would evenly split the winnings.
Thomas kept his promise last month when, after 28 years of each man buying a weekly lottery ticket, he won the $22 million Wisconsin Powerball jackpot and gave half of the money to Joseph. The inseparable pals, who each received $5.7 million after taxes, plan to use a portion of their winnings to enjoy a road trip together.
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🛸 UFO IPO… the Pentagon’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force – created to “standardize collection and reporting” on UFO sightings – will reportedly make some of its findings public within the next 180 days.
🤖 G-3PO, Human-Cyborg Relations… artificial intelligence startup OpenAI (backed by Elon Musk) has developed a new piece of software, called GPT-3, that is capable of producing human-like text on demand. We promise we didn’t use it to write this 😉.
🚓 Breached… last month, one of the biggest data breaches in U.S. law enforcement history occurred, with ~269 GB of data stolen from more than 200 police departments across America.
💵 Stuck In The Middle With You… about 52% of Americans are considered middle class, according to Pew Research. This calculator tells if you are, too.
Rules Of The Road
About what percentage of the world’s population drives on the left-hand side of the road?
A) 20% B) 33% C) 40% D) 25%
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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