Drug company Covica Rx has contracted with the state of California to create affordable insulin. Pending FDA approval, this 10-year, $50 million agreement will allow Civica to start making CalRx insulin in late 2023.
People with Type 1 diabetes do not produce enough insulin, and they rely on manufactured insulin in order to survive. Currently, insulin can cost up to $300 for a 10 milliliter vial. But insulin produced by Civica for the state of California will cost no more than $30 per 10 milliliter vial, even for the uninsured. This will save patients who pay out of pocket up to $4,000 a year.
This arrangement is part of California’s CalRx initiative which aims to reduce the cost of medications by producing generic drugs under the state’s own label.
Civica will be producing three types of insulin, glargine, lisprom and aspart, which will all be the equivalent of the insulin produced by the major drug companies. Although California has initiated this project, the medicines will be available all across the country.
The production of affordable insulin is a game changer for Americans with diabetes. NPR.com reported that 1 out of 6 Americans living with diabetes ration their supply of insulin due to the high cost of the drug. University of California College of Law professor Robin Feldman called this an “extraordinary move in the pharmaceutical industry, not just for insulin but potentially for all kinds of drugs.”
Several pharmaceutical companies such as Eli Lilly and Sanofi have announced that they will also be cutting the cost of insulin in the upcoming year.
The good news is most American consumers want to eat healthy; the bad news is companies are not making that easy. In a recent study conducted by Attest, research showed that 60% of 2,000 surveyed shoppers are committed to living healthy lifestyles. They aim to buy nutritious products but 52% of the participants were concerned about the steep prices of foods said to contain special, healthy ingredients.
The survey also showed that food labels are highly misunderstood by consumers. Participants were asked to identify which of six different cereal bars was the healthiest choice. Only 9% chose the correct one, while 13% actually indicated the least healthy of the six options. Marketing slogans, such as “whole grain,” “100 calories,” or “naturally favored,” contributed to the confusion that the participants felt.
Jeremy King, founder and CEO of Attest, remarked that the results should be seen as a call to action for the food and beverage industry to reevaluate their marketing and labeling practices. King concluded: “This data shows that identifying real, healthy products appears to be a serious difficulty for American shoppers, as packaging messages simply aren’t accessible enough for consumers. With six-in-ten consumers actively looking to buy healthy food and beverage products, addressing this issue will be of significant benefit to the industry.”
When asked what would be most helpful in gaining clarity, shoppers agreed that packaging labels with straightforward nutritional information was a priority. Some added that coupons may entice people to try a product for the first time. Others wanted to see a stamp of approval from certified health officials on the product labels.
Despite the fact that hundreds of millions of Pfizer-manufactured mRNA vaccines have been injected into people’s arms, until today the shot’s widespread consumption has been only under an “Emergency Use Authorization.” Today the US Food and Drug Administration has decided it can throw its full weight of approval behind the vaccine, opening the way for organizations, governments, and other large entities to mandate vaccination for staff and others.
It is expected that the certification, which has been in process since the vaccine entered the world stage in December 2020, will increase confidence in the treatment, helping overcome the last traces of vaccine hesitation which has led in part to the current surge in COVID-19 around the world, due to the spread of the Delta variant.
The US defense establishment announced that it will in all likelihood make vaccination mandatory for all members of the armed services. Universities have also said that they will require students and staff to be vaccinated if they want to attend in-person learning, among them the University of Minnesota and major public universities in Louisiana.
The FDA said it was able to upgrade the approval rating based on the large amount of hard evidence proving that serious side-effects are highly unusual, and the benefit of the vaccine vastly outweigh any risk presented by its administration.
President Joe Biden said, addressing those who have been wary of the vaccine because it was only being given under the emergency use authorization, that now that the vaccine has received the “gold standard” approval, “the moment you’ve been waiting for is here!”
China is the latest country to add its signature to a global effort to make sure that when a coronavirus vaccine is finally developed and ready for distribution, it will be given to the neediest people around the world.
Know as the COVAX initiative, it is sponsored by the World Health Organization and has signed up 157 countries. The WHO hopes the program will ensure that 2 billion doses of this life-saving vaccine will be made available to those most in need, no matter where they live, by the end of 2021.
“We have solemnly pledged to make vaccines developed and deployed by China a global public good, which will be provided to developing countries as a priority,” Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, wrote on Twitter.
This is an about-face for China, which originally bowed out from joining COVAX. China is currently developing four vaccines that are in clinical trials. One of them, according to Wu Guizhen, chief biosafety expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, should be ready to be used on the general population sometime in November. President of China, Xi Jinping promised back in May that he would make any Chinese vaccine available for “the global good.” At that time Xi also pledged $2 billion to WHO, making China the organization’s largest donor.
In early September, the United States announced its decision to stay away from the COVAX initiative, stating that:
“We will not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said at the time.
Use technology to maintain contact with clients. Video platforms should be utilized as much as possible to offer a face-to-face personal interaction. While working remotely may mean that things are a bit more casual, it is important to keep things professional.
The need to maintain decorum and professionalism notwithstanding, it is also important to be genuine with clients. They want to know that their money is in good hands, but they also want to have a sincere conversation about life. Start and end every conversation with a client by discussing their wellbeing. Ask how they are managing and feeling. Give them the assurance they need. Show them that you care about their physical, mental, and financial health.
When things are uncertain it is tempting to switch to preservation mode. We have a fiduciary responsibility to do our best for those who are already clients; we may not have the bandwidth to grow our business. But as we focus on the clients we have, we should also maintain business contacts and relationships that can help our business in the future. Look for opportunities in various sectors and actively pursue leads.
Clients are worried about a lot of things right now. It is the job of financial planners and economic advisors to ensure that money is not an additional concern. The current health concerns coupled with economic uncertainties present people with two extremely basic fears: being alone and broke. Now is not the time to overwhelm clients with statistics and trends. Listen closely to what the clients are saying and what they feel most comfortable with at this time. This is unchartered territory for everyone. Every individual, business owner, team leader, and industry specialist is figuring out how to navigate these uncertain times. In the money management field, being attentive, genuine, forthcoming, and caring is the best business practice right now.