A selection of health policy stories from California.
California Healthline: Bill Regulating Biosimilar Drugs Vetoed
A bill that would have allowed "biosimilar" drugs to be substituted for biologic drugs was vetoed over the weekend by Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who said it was premature to pass the law until the Federal Drug Administration has worked out standards for the new drugs. SB 598, authored by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), would have allowed pharmacists to dispense biosimilar drugs as lower-cost replacements for biologics, a policy Brown said he supports (Norberg, 10/15).
California Healthline: Statewide Health Data Gateway Opens
Under the radar -- and all but forgotten in the combined cacophony of polarization in Washington, D.C., and the launch of the state's new benefit exchange -- a significant milestone was reached in California on Oct. 1. The Department of Public Health launched its Health Information Exchange Gateway, a single point of entry for submitting data for many state and public health programs. The gateway is an expansion -- a wider opening, to follow the metaphor -- of the department's Immunization Portal (Lauer, 10/15).
Los Angeles Times: LA County Health Workers Required To Get A Flu Shot Or Wear A Mask
Effective this influenza season, health care workers in Los Angeles County will be required to receive immunizations against influenza or wear a protective mask while in contact with patients. In an order issued by Public Health director Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county mandated that all workers in hospitals, nursing facilities and intermediate care facilities who work in patient areas or have direct contact with patients receive an annual flu vaccination (Brown, 10/15).
Los Angeles Times: Doctor Arrested In Illegal Prescription Of Narcotics
A Southern California pain doctor who was featured in a 2012 Times investigative article on patient overdose deaths was arrested Tuesday on seven counts of illegally prescribing narcotics and other widely abused drugs. Dr. John Dimowo is charged with prescribing Vicodin, Norco, Adderall and Xanax to undercover agents who pretended to be patients but had no legitimate need for the drugs (Glover and Girion, 10/15).