Few teeth: Trump unveils plan to reduce drug prices

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s long-awaited plan to bring down drug prices, unveiled Friday, will mostly spare the pharmaceutical industry he previously accused of “getting away with murder” and instead focus on increasing private competition and requiring more openness about costs.

In Rose Garden remarks at the White House, Trump called his plan the “most sweeping action in history to lower the price of prescription drugs for the American people.” But it does not include his campaign pledge to use the massive buying power of the government’s Medicare program to directly negotiate lower prices for seniors.

That idea has long been supported by Democrats but is a non-starter for drugmakers and most Republicans in Congress.

Instead, the administration will pursue a raft of old and new measures intended to improve competition and transparency in the notoriously complex drug pricing system. Those include a proposal requiring drugmakers to disclose the cost of their medicines in their television advertisements. Health Secretary Alex Azar said the Food and Drug Administration would immediately examine requiring that information in TV ads.

The proposals also include banning the pharmacist “gag rule,” which Trump said prevents druggists from telling customers about lower-cost options so they can save money, and speeding up the approval process for over-the-counter medications so patients can buy more drugs without prescriptions.

It’s an approach that avoids a direct confrontation with the powerful pharmaceutical lobby, but it could also underwhelm Americans seeking relief from escalating prescription costs.

Perhaps the most threatening idea under consideration is to give the private health insurers who run Medicare plans more negotiating power with drugmakers. But administration officials offered few specifics on how that might work.

“Consumers are ultimately going to be the judge of this announcement,” said Dan Mendelson, a health care consultant. “If they don’t address the cost that patients see at the pharmacy …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

Iran cleric threatens destruction of Israeli cities

TEHRAN, Iran — A prominent Iranian cleric on Friday threatened two Israeli cities with destruction if the Jewish state “acts foolishly” and retaliates against it again, while thousands of protesters demonstrated against President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal with world powers.

The comments by Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami followed a week of escalating tensions that threaten to spill over into a wider conflict between the two bitter enemies, who have long fought each other through proxies in Syria and Lebanon.

Israeli airstrikes struck Iranian military installations inside Syria on Thursday — its biggest coordinated assault on Syria since the 1973 Mideast war — in retaliation for an Iranian rocket barrage on Israeli positions in the occupied Golan Heights. It was the most serious military confrontation between the two rivals to date.

Khatami, who has echoed sentiments of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who says Israel will not exist in 25 years, said the Jewish state could face destruction if it continues to challenge Iran.

“The holy system of the Islamic Republic will step up its missile capabilities day by day so that Israel, this occupying regime, will become sleepless and the nightmare will constantly haunt it that if it does anything foolish, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” he said, according to state television.

His remarks drew chants of “Death to America!” from those gathered for Friday prayers in Tehran.

Thousands later demonstrated across the country to protest Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal. The protests resembled other aggressive but orderly gatherings typical under President Hassan Rouhani, who has portrayed himself as seeking rapprochement with the West and is simultaneously trying to save the nuclear deal with world powers while attempting to appease hard-liners seeking revenge for Israeli attacks.

While the chants of “Death to America” were few, Iranians are sincerely angry …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

The most popular baby names for 2017: There’s a new top boy name, Melania is on the rise

The Social Security Administration released its list of most popular baby names in the United States for the past year.

Emma topped the girls’ list for the fourth straight year.

Meanwhile, Liam topped the list for boys, bumping Noah from the top spot.

Michael fell out of the top 10 for the first time since World War II. Similarly, Emily left the top 10 for girls, where it has been a staple since 1990.

New names among the top 10 are Amelia, Evelyn, Logan and Oliver.

Interestingly, the names Sophia and Sofia were both in the top 15 for girls because of their different spellings. If combined, they would defeat Emma for the top spot, according to The Mercury News.

Here’s a look at the full top 10 for boys and girls:

Boys:

Liam
Noah
William
James
Logan
Benjamin
Mason
Elijah
Oliver
Jacob
Girls:

Emma
Olivia
Ava
Isabella
Sophia
Mia
Charlotte
Amelia
Evelyn
Abigail
Other notes:

The Mercury News also highlighted names at the bottom of the list, including Capone, Vedder, Remedy and Suede for boys, and Mercury, Saturn and Eclipse for girls, among many others.

The Huffington Post pointed out that the name Donald saw no change in 2017 despite Donald Trump being president. Donald fell 45 spots in 2016, though.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that Melania, which is the name of the first lady, finished fifth on a list of names increasing in popularity. Other names on that list included Ensey, Dream and Oaklyn.

…read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

The most popular baby names for 2017: There’s a new top boy name, Melania on the rise

The Social Security Administration released its list of most popular baby names in the United States for the past year.

Emma topped the girls’ list for the fourth straight year.

Meanwhile, Liam topped the list for boys, bumping Noah from the top spot.

Michael fell out of the top 10 for the first time since World War II. Similarly, Emily left the top 10 for girls, where it has been a staple since 1990.

New names among the top 10 are Amelia, Evelyn, Logan and Oliver.

Interestingly, the name Sophia and Sofia were both in the top 15 for girls because of their different spelling. If combined, they would defeat Emma for the top spot, according to The Mercury News.

Here’s a look at the full top 10 for boys and girls:

Boys:

Liam
Noah
William
James
Logan
Benjamin
Mason
Elijah
Oliver
Jacob
Girls:

Emma
Olivia
Ava
Isabella
Sophia
Mia
Charlotte
Amelia
Evelyn
Abigail
Other notes:

The Mercury News also highlighted names at the bottom of the list, including Capone, Vedder, Remedy and Suede for boys, and Mercury, Saturn and Eclipse for girls, among many others.
The Huffington Post pointed out that the name Donald saw no name change in 2017 despite Donald Trump being president. Donald fell 45 spots in 2016, though.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that Melania, which is the name of First Lady Melania Trump, finished fifth on a list of names increasing in popularity. Other names on that list included Ensey, Dream and Oaklyn.
…read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News