February 18, 2021 | Vol. XII | Issue 7     
DeSantis defends controversial vaccine deal with developer -- and threatens to pull vaccines if officials don't like it 
Konstantin Toropin reports for CNN:

Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has threatened to
FL Gov. Ron DeSantis
FL Gov. Ron DeSantis
move a pop-up vaccination clinic that his state has set up in an affluent community in Manatee County after he was confronted with allegations of political favoritism and preference for the wealthy at a news conference Wednesday.

Manatee County announced on Tuesday that Florida's Division of Emergency Management would host a "pop-up" vaccination spot at Lakewood Ranch this week for 3,000 Manatee County residents, according to a statement from the county.

The vaccines, however, would be limited to people living in only two zip codes -- 34202 and 34211.
Payer Biden admin appears to withdraw final rule aimed at streamlining prior authorization
Robert King reports for Fierce Healthcare: 

The Biden administration appears to have withdrawn a rule finalized last minute by the Trump administration that aims to streamline prior authorization, a major source of provider administrative burden.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final rule Jan. 15, touting it as an easy way for patients to get their healthcare data.

Former CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a press release at the time that millions of "patients will no longer have to wrangle with prior providers or locate ancient fax machines to take possession of their data."

But that press release no longer appears on CMS' website, and the rule does not appear in the Federal Register.

How some drugs can turn into a cancer-causing chemical in the body
Michael White

When consumers get a prescription drug from the pharmacy, they assume that it's been tested and is safe to use. But what if a drug changes in harmful ways as it sits on the shelf or in the body?

One dangerous result has been the creation of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a probable carcinogen, in certain drugs. NDMA is found in chlorinated water, food and drugs in trace amounts. To minimize exposure, the Food and Drug Administration has set an acceptable level of NDMA in each pill at less than 96 nanograms.

But over the past few years the FDA has found excessive amounts of NDMA in several drugs for hypertension, diabetes and heartburn. As a result, the agency has initiated recalls to protect the public. These products were contaminated with NDMA during the manufacturing process. The FDA recommended best practices for manufacturers to minimize this risk going forward.

Unfortunately for the buying public, emerging evidence suggests that NDMA can also be created as some pills sit on the store shelf or medicine cabinet, or even after the patient swallows it. Thus, there is no way to test for its presence in the factory.

I am a pharmacist and distinguished professor who has written extensively about manufacturing issues and FDA oversight associated with both drugs and dietary supplements in the past, including the issue of NDMA contamination. 
Pfizer: South African variant could significantly reduce vaccine protection 
Pfizer: South African variant could significantly reduce vaccine protection
A new study shows the neutralization levels against the South African covid variant were two-thirds lower when compared to the older variants of the Covid-19. It's unclear what this would look like in a real-world scenario. Meg Tirrell joins Shep Smith to report. 

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