New Drug Pricing Executive Order Burdens Patients

President Trump just signed an executive order designed to reduce drug prices. Dubbed a “Most Favored Nations” policy, the order pegs Medicare payments for medicines to the prices paid by foreign governments.

This plan would reduce access to today’s innovative medicines and stifle medical progress. It must be shelved. There are much better ideas for reducing prescription drug costs.

Many foreign nations have single payer health systems that impose strict price controls on new medicines and refuse to cover particularly expensive drugs.

Patients living in those nations end up with fewer treatment options. Patients in the United Kingdom and France had access to just seven in 10 new cancer therapies between 2011 and 2018. American patients could access to virtually all of them.

The U.S. market operates differently. Insurers compete for patients often by offering generous drug coverage. Drug researchers are incentivized to develop new treatments, as they know that American patients value innovation. As a result, research companies across the world generally launch their newest drugs here first.

The executive order will slow medical progress. There are currently 4,500 drugs in America’s development pipeline. These medicines target everything from cancer and HIV to heart disease and asthma. Price controls would inevitably reduce drug firms’ revenues and leave them less to invest in research and development. This could block the next generation of drugs from ever even hitting the pharmacy shelf.

Medical breakthroughs are constantly making it easier and cheaper for patients to stay healthy. A recent study from my organization, the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, found that new medicines could avoid $6 trillion in healthcare costs and prevent 16 million deaths by 2030.

It isn’t fair that Americans pay so much more than Canadians and Europeans. But policymakers should work to get these nations to shoulder more of the research burden not import their harmful policies. Kenneth E. Thorpe is a professor of health policy at Emory University and chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. This piece originally ran in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Preakness 145 to include Introduction of The George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes

(Baltimore, Md) —In addition to crowning a Preakness champion at Old Hilltop this year, 1/ST today announced it will celebrate the life and legacy of George E. Mitchell with the introduction of “The George E. Mitchell Black- Eyed Susan Stakes (GII). A tireless community advocate for Park Heights, Mr. Mitchell’s contributions will be recognized this year and for years to come during the Preakness celebration.

Mr. Mitchell’s three children as well as other family members will be in attendance to present the trophy to the winner of the first-ever “George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (GII)”.

Post time for the race is 4:41 p.m., and will be part of NBC’s national broadcast coverage from 4:30-6:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 3.

George E. Mitchell was a longtime leader and champion for the Park Heights community. Born in Florence, South Carolina, Mr. Mitchell moved to Baltimore shortly after his first birthday. He graduated from Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School in 1972 and Morgan State University in 1976. He then served in the U.S. Army and earned a master’s degree at Saint Leo University.

Mr. Mitchell was one of the first Black partners of a Golden Corral franchise. He was also a licensed real estate agent. From 2017 until his passing in July 2020 at the age of 65, Mr. Mitchell oversaw operations of the Langston Hughes Community, Business and Resource Center, which houses a food pantry, library and computer lab as well as youth and adult programs and services including those for literacy, education and workforce development.

He also served as president of Neighborhoods United, an organization made up of several community associations organized to help bring positive change to Northwest Baltimore.

Mr. Mitchell was a passionate advocate for keeping the Preakness in Baltimore and was an important contributor to the passage of the Racing and Community Development Act 2020.

The President and first lady tested positive for Covid-19. Here’s what CDC guidelines say should happen next

President Donald Trump announced early Friday he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for Covid-19.

His announcement came just hours after news that Hope Hicks, one of the President’s closest aides, also tested positive. Hicks had traveled with Trump multiple times recently and was seen this week with several other of the President’s aides — none of whom wore masks.

“This is very concerning,” says Anne Rimoin, an epidemiology professor at UCLA. “The number of people that could potentially be exposed and at risk of contracting this virus is significant here.”

There are many questions going forward — including who else may have been exposed to the virus and what the President and the first lady will need to do now.

Here’s what the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says should happen when someone tests positive for the virus or is exposed to an infected individual.

If you test positive for Covid-19

People who have tested positive for Covid-19 need to go into isolation, according to guidance from the CDC updated in August.

Those in isolation should stay home, unless they need to get medical care, and monitor their symptoms, according to the agency.

According to a statement from Trump’s physician, both the President and the First Lady plan to remain in the White House as they recover while a medical team keeps a “vigilant watch” on them.

Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley said he expects Trump to “continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering.”

According to the CDC, infected individuals should separate themselves from others and stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible, and use a separate bathroom.

“Don’t share personal household items like cups, towels, and utensils,” the agency said. “Wear a mask when around other people, if you are able to.”

Those infected should wear masks covering their nose and mouth when they’re around others, the CDC said.

When can you leave isolation

The CDC recommends people who tested positive for Covid-19 should stay isolated for at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and after they’ve been at least 24 hours fever-less without the help of medications. Symptoms should also be improving before people leave isolation, the CDC said.

For those who tested positive but showed no symptoms, the agency said they can be around others after 10 days since their last positive Covid-19 test.

People who are severely immunocompromised, according to the CDC, may require testing before interacting with others.

Who may have been exposed

According to the CDC, an infected person can spread the virus starting 48 hours before the person has any symptoms or tests positive.

“By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect everyone,” the agency said.

The CDC says close contacts can include:

Anyone who was within six feet of an infected individual for at least 15 minutes

Anyone who cared for someone who was infected or had direct physical contact, like hugging or kissing

Anyone who shared eating or drinking utensils

Anyone who may have gotten respiratory droplets from an infected individual through something like a sneeze or a cough

What to do if you’re exposed

People who had close contact with someone with Covid-19 should stay home for 14 days after they were last exposed to that person, the CDC says.

Individuals don’t have to quarantine for two weeks if they’ve been infected in the previous three months and recovered without lingering symptoms, the agency said.

Some of the most frequently banned books feature LGBTQ stories, library association says

Some school libraries ban books because characters use witchcraft. Others do because of profanity or sexual content, or because of uncomfortable themes like racism.

But a great deal of the most frequently challenged books of the last decade center around LGBTQ characters and themes, an analysis from the American Library Association revealed.

In honor of “Banned Books Week” the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom published lists of the top 10 most challenged books of 2019 and the top 100 most frequently banned books of the decade.

Lists from years past show that censorship of LGBTQ stories is a recent trend. On the top 10 most challenged books of 2019 rankings, eight were challenged because of LGBTQ content. Several of them centered on transgender characters, like “George,” about a fourth-grade trans girl, and “I Am Jazz,” a picture book about real-life activist Jazz Jennings, who transitioned at a young age.

Others range from classics like “The Color Purple,” which features a lesbian relationship, to contemporary comics aimed at grade schoolers like “Sex is a Funny Word.”

Other frequently challenged books focused on Black characters, including “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, which centers on police shootings and racism, and Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” and “Beloved.”

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, told CNN that her office has seen a “growing trend” of censoring books that prominently feature LGBTQ characters.

“There are members of every community that need and wanted these resources, that want to find themselves reflected in their library’s collections and programs,” she said. “This allows them to understand themselves in the world and affirm their identity.”

The dangers of censoring LGBTQ stories Henry Cody Miller, an assistant professor of English at the College of Brockport, State University of New York, wrote about the high number of LGBTQ books for Teaching Tolerance Magazine in 2019. Omitting narratives from schools can perpetuate harm, he said.

“Framing a book that features LGBTQ characters as ‘controversial’ places the onus of conflict on LGBTQ people,” he wrote. “There is nothing controversial or problematic about being a member of the LGBTQ community.”

Books about diverse experiences are beneficial for every reader, Caldwell-Stone said. “Books, novels, true stories and memoirs are ways of developing empathy for other people and their lives,” she said. “If we take that away from young people, we’re really depriving them of opportunities to develop as individuals, to understand the world.”

The number of frequently challenged LGBTQ books, though, also signals that books with these themes and characters are being published more frequently and read more widely.

But if a book is censored by school officials, it’s almost impossible for a librarian or teacher to get that book into a student’s hands, Caldwell-Stone said. That’s why Banned Books Week focuses on advocacy, too, and features talks with authors on access to literature.

Caldwell-Stone said it’s necessary to champion the inclusion of diverse books in collections, even if those books don’t align with one’s personal views, “so that everyone can find what they need in the library.”

Trump-Biden Clash Was Watched By At Least 65 Million Viewers

More than 65 million people watched the first debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden Tuesday night.

The television audience for the debate was down from the first debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016, but it was higher than almost every other debate in recent years.

Tuesday’s clash was the biggest event on American TV since the Super Bowl last February.

Preliminary Nielsen ratings showed an average audience of roughly 64.7 million viewers across eight channels for the entirety of Tuesday’s prime time event.

The preliminary ratings include only Americans who watched at home on television. An unknown number of people live-streamed the debate on the internet, listened on the radio, and watched in other ways, which means the total audience easily surpassed 65 million.

Finalized Nielsen TV ratings figures are set to be released later in the day on Wednesday.

Some campaign officials and media executives predicted that the total audience would surpass the 2016 record, when the same group of channels cited above had a combined average of 75.8 million viewers.

(The final total for that debate, across 13 channels, was 84 million viewers, which smashed prior records for presidential debates.)

Politics fatigue may have been a factor in the lower level of viewership in 2020. Another reason may be the cringeworthy nature of Trump’s conduct. Many critics said afterward that it was the worst debate in modern American history.

Yet another factor to consider: The pandemic’s impact on broadcast television. With few new shows on prime time TV, broadcast viewership levels are lower than they were in 2016, which meant the debate had a smaller lead-in audience than it otherwise would have.

Streaming options are also more popular now than they were four years ago, so a greater number of people likely watched via live-streaming.

Despite the uncomfortable nature of Trump’s interruptions and the unbelievable nature of many of his claims, most viewers did keep watching until the end of the debate, according to the preliminary Nielsen data. Total viewership was quite consistent throughout the event.

Streaming viewership on also peaked toward the end of the debate, at 10:20 p.m., according to internal metrics.

The Maryland State Board of Elections Recognizes National Voter Registration Day

Annapolis— In conjunction with National Voter Registration Day, the Maryland State Board of Elections reminds all eligible Marylanders who have not yet registered to vote in the November 3 general election to do so. The deadline to register is October 13, 2020.

Those who have not yet registered can do so online using Maryland’s Online Voter Registration System or by submitting a voter registration application to their local board of elections or the Maryland State Board of Elections. Marylanders using the online registration system must complete the registration process no later than 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 13 in order to vote in the general election. Those who choose to send registration applications by mail must ensure the applications are postmarked no later than Oct. 13 in order to vote in the general election.

Same-day registration will also be offered to those Marylanders who choose to vote in person during early voting (Monday, October 26 to Monday, November 2) or on Election Day, November 3.

The Maryland Board of Elections encourages those who are already registered to go online and verify their voter information is accurate and up to date.

Every year, millions of Americans find themselves unable to vote because they miss a registration deadline, don’t update their registration, or aren’t certain how to register. National Voter Registration Day was created in 2012 to help address the issue, serving as a nonpartisan rallying point to help eligible voters across the country register and give them the option to participate in the democratic process. Since then, nearly 3 million citizens have registered to vote on the holiday, which takes place every year on the fourth Tuesday of September.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maryland State Board of Elections is encouraging voters to cast their ballots by mail. Applications for mail-in ballots have been sent via first-class U.S. Mail to eligible Maryland voters. Applications must be received by October 20. Mail-in ballots will be sent to voters by first-class U.S. Mail beginning in late September and continuing in October.

In addition to voting by mail or in person during early voting or on Election Day, Maryland voters can cast their ballots at authorized ballot drop box locations around the state. Locations will begin opening roughly 30 days prior to Election Day. Once open, the ballot drop boxes will remain open until 8 p.m. on Election Day, November 3, 2020.

In Memoriam: NCNW mourns the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

My heart is broken over the passing of my shero, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But as Ella Baker’s words declared and were written and set in music by Bernice Johnson Reagon: “We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.”

And that is why we must honor our sister, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by carrying on her relentless work for the emancipation of women, and the equality of all under the law.

Among Justice Ginsburg’s many critical judicial opinions were those involving disability rights, gender equality and affirmative action. The second woman appointed to the Supreme Court, she stood firmly against discrimination leveled against her because she was a woman and a Jew.

Her experiences as a woman and a mother, together with her superior intellect, shaped a legal philosophy firmly opposed to all forms of discrimination against marginalized people. She wrote bluntly in 1986, “to pretend that [affirmative action is unconstitutional] is to pretend that history never happened and that the present doesn’t exist.”

We all remember our sister’s fearless dissent from the 2013 Supreme Court decision to remove voting rights protections. Indeed it was that dissent that earned her the nickname “Notorious R.B. G.” When I vote in the November 3rd election, her name will be among the names of our heroes and sheroes that I will call. The sincerest tribute that can be paid to Justice Ginsburg is to vote and urge everyone we know to do the same.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed on the evening of the beginning of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, a time when wishes are extended for a joyous and peaceful new year. Join me in wishing that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s soul will rest ever so peacefully during her new year as an ancestor for justice…..and forever more.

The post NCNW mourns the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg appeared first on Atlanta Daily World.

More than 96 percent of Maryland Residents have already responded to 2020 Census

Going into the final days of the all- important census count, Maryland has a 96.3 percent response rate, placing the state high up on the list of states that have responded.

Pending legal action, the Census count could end on September 30, 2020.In July, President Donald Trump suddenly decided to speed up and end the count by September 30.That action spurred lawsuits in California by a National Urban League- led coalition seeking to extend the count beyond Trump’s deadline.

Additionally, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Asian Americans Advancing Justice have asked a federal judge in Maryland to extend the time for the census count.

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced legislation this month to allow for the continued count, while Census Bureau officials have also asked for more time.“There is current and ongoing litigation, but the one thing I can tell you is that what is going to hold true is that time is running out, and people need to respond,” declared David C. Cook, the chief public information officer at the U.S. Census.

Cook expressed concern about African Americans who are historically undercounted.“When you look at the Black and African American community, children under five typically are undercounted for various reasons,” Cook stated.

“Just to be clear, if you have a child that’s born on or after Apr. 1, 2020, they don’t need to be on the form. It’s who lived in your house as of Apr. 1. Also, Black males 18 to 25 are historically undercounted, so we’ve been targeting that demographic, and we’re letting people know that it is safe to respond. We don’t share your information. It’s the law.”

Everyone can still respond online, by phone, or by mail. Census officials continue to implore Americans that it’s vital to cooperate if a census taker arrives at your home. Census results shape the future of communities. Census data informs how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed for health clinics, school lunch programs, disaster recovery initiatives, and other critical programs and services for the next decade.

The most recent available count shows states whose residents have had the most significant response are Idaho (99.7 percent), West Virginia (99.6 percent), Hawaii (98.9 percent), Washington (98 percent), and Maine (98 percent). While the nation’s overall response rate stands at 93.6 percent, six states haven’t yet reached 90 percent – Alabama (85.6 percent), Montana (86.9 percent), Mississippi (87.1 percent), South Carolina (87.7 percent), New Mexico (88.6 percent), and Arizona (88.9 percent).

The Census is working on getting residents across the country to respond as they faced many challenges, Cook noted. “As a nation, the number of households who answered the doorbell is more than 90 percent. Knowing that the count continues,” Cook observed. “Looking back at the 2020 count, the self-reported rate was at 63 percent, so we know that we have to stay out in front of people and get them to respond.”

For more information about the Census, visit census.html

Morgan State University wins Second Annual Ford HBC-You Mobility Challenge: Receives $25,000 grant for its innovative FRESHLY program

Dearborn, Mich.— Students at Morgan State University (MSU) in Baltimore, Maryland, will benefit from the university having won top honors and $25,000 in the Second Annual Ford HBC-You Mobility Challenge. Morgan’s FRESHLY Program will address food insecurity and help students access mass transit and connect to healthy food resources and grocery stores.

At the heart of the FRESHLY Program is a student-built software app that will allow students to navigate between meal planning and prep courses and trips to grocery stores and farmer’s markets using university shuttles— all under the universally applied and implemented COVID-19 protocols. Students will use the app to make reservations and track shuttle locations. The grant also will support Saturday shuttle service, connecting students to surrounding grocery stores and the MSU Food Resource Center, which was launched two years ago as a ground-breaking wrap-around service provider for students facing food insecurities. Students will also receive instruction on meal planning that focuses on nutrition, the art of couponing, and how to maneuver through local grocery store apps.

“The quality of proposals we received from Historically Black Colleges and Universities for the Ford HBC-You Challenge from across the country was outstanding,” said Pamela Alexander, director of community development, Ford Motor Company Fund. Understanding smart mobility needs on their campuses and proposing well- crafted solutions that will make a real difference in people’s lives demonstrates the passion that students have for serving their communities.”

Second place and $10,000 was awarded to students from Talladega College in Talladega, Ala. Talladega students partnered with the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB) to develop improved sidewalks with truncated domes, which are raised circles on the pavement used to alert visually-impaired pedestrians when they’ve reached the end of a sidewalk. Created by the Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford, the Ford HBC-You Mobility Challenge asks students, alumni, faculty and administrators to design innovative mobility-based projects that address critical campus or community needs consistent with charitable purposes.

“Resources are absolutely critical in our collective effort to assist those in our community facing extenuating circumstances— chief among them is food insecurity, which is a real issue even for students on college campuses,” said Kevin Banks, Ed.D., vice president for Student Affairs at Morgan State University. “We are extremely thankful to Ford for spearheading social responsibility programs that benefit and uplift communities. The Ford HBC- You Mobility Challenge Grant will have an immediate impact on Morgan’s Food Resource Center and its capacity to combat hunger on our campus and within the greater Morgan Community.” With the theme of “Making Lives Better: Changing the Way We Move Through Smart Mobility,” the challenge was created to empower HBCU students, alumni, faculty, and administrators to collaborate on creating and implementing sustainable solutions that address unmet needs and improve the lives of individuals within their communities.

“Talladega College and AIDB are both student-centered organizations and we share a special bond. The innovative Ford HBC-You Mobility Challenge Grant will strengthen this bond while enhancing the lives of deaf and blind students at both institutions by providing them with greater mobility and independence,” said Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins.

The Ford Fund has long been a supporter of HBCUs, shifting now to a focus on mobility. Ford Fund invests more than $13 million a year in various educational outreach initiatives including grants, scholarships and other programming worldwide. More recently, Ford Fund worked with the United Negro College Fund to provide transportation to students needing assistance to return home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For more information on Ford’s programs that support the African American community, go to

What about our daughters? Baltimore Black mother’s thoughts on Breonna Taylor’s birthday

I am a Black, single mother of two girls Blair (8) and Harper (6). One night recently, my Remington home was quiet because I sent them to their father’s house for a much-needed break after 84 consecutive days at home together amid social distancing precautions due to COVID-19. Today, my mind finds some ease in reading that we are headed into Phase 1 of re-opening here in Baltimore.

However, the imagery associated with the police killing of Breonna Taylor is one I’ve struggled not to replay in my mind. The thoughts of the civil unrest all around the country make it hard to focus, sleep, or just let your kids go out for a quick visit. On Friday, June 5, 2020, it was much harder to ignore the imagery because it was Breonna’s 27th birthday.

On March 13, 2020, 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department officers while she was sleeping when they entered her home. This senseless killing took a daughter from her mother.

When my girls are home, I often peer into their room to watch them sleep and to ensure their safety— wishing them sweet dreams. Even now when they are only 25 minutes away, I miss them dearly. They carry on and leave their toys all over the floor but as annoying as it may be for a mother, I’m sure Breonna’s mom would give anything to rewind the hands of time and relive those days. My daughters are much younger than Breonna was or would’ve been today but the world and its ills are one and the same for my daughters as they were for her.

This is all a nightmare; to think that my daughters could grow older, take jobs serving their communities like Breonna, and have their lives taken, carelessly by law enforcement wherever they may reside. I pray God to plant a hedge of protection over them even right now. I’m afraid and rightfully so, I’m unsure that hashtags are enough, I’m unclear on if protests or officers taking knees is enough to appease the grief that Breonna’s mom must feel. The collective grief in community is heavy and the media is persistent on messaging around George Floyd, But all I can ask is, What about our daughter, Breonna?

How should we train our own daughters to live in a world that has no regard for them? Should I prepare their minds even now to be fearful of law enforcement? There are so many questions laying squarely on my shoulders as a black mother. Especially given the geographic context and history of police brutality in Baltimore. Do we move to another state? I’ve even gone the length to research the story of George Floyd and found that he lived in multiple states over the course of his life. You simply can’t outrun acts of carelessness, I guess. I’m stumped by the entire system from the police force to the prison system— it’s not necessarily broken, it was just never meant to protect the majority of us.

In Baltimore, I have memories as early as age 16 where friends of mine both young men and women were locked up. We would all just be hanging out trying to come of age— not looking for trouble. As I got older— in my early twenties— I worked in healthcare just like Breonna and would come home after a long night exhausted from patient care. The degrees of separation between myself and Breonna, situations like hers, and my daughters are too close.

I’ve skimmed articles where her mother describes it as being “harder to breathe without her.” I spend nearly 365 days of the year in very close proximity to my daughters and I can’t imagine, and I don’t want to imagine a day without my children here on earth. The 84 days that I have been home with my girls marks the 84 days that Breonna’s mom has been without her. She has a lifetime to go.