The Trump administration proposed a rule Wednesday to allow states to import prescription drugs from Canada, moving forward a plan announced this summer that the president has said will bring cheaper prescription drugs to Americans.
Importation of drugs from Canada as a way to lower costs for U.S. consumers has been considered for years. Alex Azar, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), called the move “a historic step forward in efforts to bring down drug prices and out-of-pocket costs.”
Industry trade groups in both countries opposed the plan, saying it will not lower costs and could hurt Canadian drug supplies.
Azar said HHS would also offer guidance to drugmakers that wish to voluntarily bring drugs they sell more cheaply in other countries into the United States for sale here.
The pathways for importation were announced in July, when Azar unveiled a “Safe Import Action Plan.”
Azar could not provide an estimate of how soon Americans could start seeing cheaper drugs from Canada. The proposed rule would need to pass through a 75-day comment period before being finalized, he said.
“We’re moving as quickly as we possibly can,” he added.
Governors of states including Florida, Maine, Colorado, Vermont and New Hampshire have already expressed an interest in importing drugs from Canada once the pathway to do so is fully in place, Azar said. States would be required to explain how any proposed drug imports would reduce drug prices for consumers.
The proposal faces opposition from large U.S. pharmaceutical and biotech companies.
Jim Greenwood, current head of biotech industry group BIO and a former Republican congressman, said that importation would not result in lower prices for consumers, citing nonpartisan budget experts and past U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioners.
“Today’s announcement is the latest empty gesture from our elected lawmakers who want us to believe they’re serious about lowering patients’ prescription drug costs,” Greenwood said.
Ottawa also has criticized the plan. Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. said last month that importing medicines from north of the border would not significantly lower U.S. prices. Reuters previously reported that Canada had warned U.S. officials it would oppose any import plan that might threaten the Canadian drug supply or raise costs for Canadians.
The federal government has suggested it could step in and block exports in the event that any such plans threaten Canada’s drug supply. In fact a previous government already introduced a bill in the House of Commons that would have allowed a block on exports.
The Paul Martin government introduced Bill C-83 in 2005 when American politics was previously awash in talk of importing from Canada. But it never became law, as the Martin government was defeated soon thereafter and the issue died down in the U.S.
Canada drug supply ‘insufficient’
“The drug supply is insufficient for the Canadian market, let alone trying to divert it to a much larger market like the U.S.,” said Daniel Chiasson, president of the Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management, a trade group that represents drug distributors.
“We’re not supportive of any policy initiative or policy proposal that has the capacity to threaten the stability of medications available to Canadians.”
The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPHA) was still analyzing the announcement Wednesday afternoon to assess whether it might have a practical impact.
“With an average of five new drug shortages reported each day in Canada, we are not in a position to supply a country 10 times our size. These proposals could significantly restrict the availability of medications for our patients,” CPHA chair Christine Hrudka said in a statement to CBC News.
Speaking to reporters in Florida on Wednesday, Azar said Canadians’ cheaper drug prices were the result of a free ride off of American investment and innovation.
“Obviously the Canadians are going to be looking out for Canadians,” he said. “We’re here to put American patients first.”
Many prescription medicines would be excluded from importation from Canada, such as biologic drugs, including insulin, controlled substances and intravenous drugs.
Tip-toeing around big pharma
U.S. President Donald Trump, a Republican, has struggled to deliver on a pledge to lower drug prices before the November 2020 election. Health-care costs are expected to be a major focus of the campaign by Trump and Democratic rivals vying to run against him.
The Trump administration in July scrapped an ambitious policy that would have required health insurers to pass billions of dollars in rebates they receive from drugmakers to Medicare patients.
Also in July, a federal judge struck down a Trump administration rule that would have forced pharmaceutical companies to include the wholesale prices of their drugs in television advertising.
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are proposing drug pricing bills that contain some of the proposals Trump has advocated, such as indexing public drug reimbursements to foreign drug costs.
But Trump has said he will veto the Democrat-led House bill if it comes to his desk on the grounds that it would slow down innovation.
“Once again, the Trump White House is tiptoeing around big pharma with a spectacularly pinched and convoluted proposal that excludes insulin and has no actual implementation date,” said Henry Connelly, a spokesman for U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.
“If President Trump actually wants to lower drug prices, he should pick up the phone and tell Senator McConnell to send him the House-passed Lower Drug Costs Now Act.”
Top soldier says he won't confirm or deny that Canadians troops are on the ground in Ukraine – CBC News
Canada’s top soldier is declining to confirm media reports that Canadian military members are on the ground in Ukraine to train locals in fighting invading Russian forces.
Gen. Wayne Eyre, Canada’s chief of the defence staff, appeared on Power & Politics on Monday following reports from Global News and the New York Times that Canadian Forces special operations members are training Ukrainians during Russia’s ongoing invasion.
But when asked about the reports, Eyre said the military is “never going to talk about discreet or sensitive special operations or confirm or deny them.”
He called the media reports “disappointing” and speculative.
“If it was true, it would put our troops at risk. And why would anyone deliberately want to put Canadian troops at risk?” Eyre said.
Host Vassy Kapelos asked whether or not it’s problematic for Canadians not to have an accurate depiction of the country’s participation in a war.
“The other aspect we need to think about is speculation in the media feeds Russian disinformation as well,” Eyre said. “We’re seeing, as the character of war evolves … disinformation is itself becoming a weapon. So we just need to be very, very cognizant of that aspect as well.”
“Does that mean that if Canadian soldiers are on the ground in Ukraine at any point during this conflict, Canadians will not be aware of that?” Kapelos asked.
“Every situation is going to be different,” Eyre replied. “You balance transparency with operational security and try to find that sweet spot in the middle.”
Last week, Defence Minister Anita Anand announced Canada will commit a contingent of soldiers to the British Army’s program to turn Ukrainian civilians into fighting troops. That training will be held in the U.K.
The plan amounts to the restart of Operation Unifier, the long-standing training mission which saw — until its suspension last winter — more than 33,000 Ukrainian soldiers given advanced combat instruction by Canadian soldiers.
That mission, conducted on Ukrainian soil, was halted and the troops pulled out of the eastern European country in mid-February on the eve of the full-scale Russian invasion.
The new iteration involves up to 225 personnel, the majority of whom will work as trainers, supported by a command and control element, Anand said.
The initial deployment is expected to be four months.
“Training is something that we have done very, very well and has proven to be of great value to our Ukrainian friends, starting with the start of Operation Unifier,” Eyre said Monday. “That’s something we want to continue.”
Beware the Darkverse and the Cyber-Physical Threats it Will Enable
DALLAS, August 8, 2022 – Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704), a global cybersecurity leader, today released a new report warning of a “darkverse” of criminality hidden from law enforcement, which could quickly evolve to fuel a new industry of metaverse-related cybercrime.
To read a full copy of the report, Metaverse or MetaWorse? Cyber Security Threats Against the Internet of Experiences, please visit: https://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/us/security/news/cybercrime-and-digital-threats/metaworse-the-trouble-with-the-metaverse.
The top five metaverse threats outlined in the report are:
- NFTs will be hit by phishing, ransom, fraud and other attacks, which will be increasingly targeted as they become an important metaverse commodity to regulate ownership.
- The darkverse will become the go-to place for conducting illegal/criminal activities because it will be difficult to trace, monitor and infiltrate by law enforcement. In fact, it may be years before police catch up.
- Money laundering using overpriced metaverse real estate and NFTs will provide a new outlet for criminals to clean cash.
- Social engineering, propaganda and fake news will have a profound impact in a cyber-physical world. Influential narratives will be employed by criminals and state actors targeting vulnerable groups who are sensitive to certain topics.
- Privacy will be redefined, as metaverse-like space operators will have unprecedented visibility into user actions – essentially when using their worlds, there will be zero privacy as we know it.
Bill Malik, vice president of infrastructure strategies for Trend Micro: “The metaverse is a multibillion-dollar hi-tech vision that will define the next internet era. Although we don’t know exactly how it will develop, we need to start thinking now about how it will be exploited by threat actors. Given the high costs and jurisdictional challenges, law enforcement will struggle to police the metaverse in general in its early years. The security community must step in now or risk a new Wild West to develop on our digital doorstep.”
As imagined by Trend Micro, the darkverse will resemble a metaverse version of the dark web, enabling threat actors to coordinate and carry out illegal activities with impunity.
Underground marketplaces operating in the darkverse would be impossible for police to infiltrate without the correct authentication tokens. Because users can only access a darkverse world if they’re inside a designated physical location, there’s an additional level of protection for closed criminal communities.
This could provide a haven for multiple threats to flourish—from financial fraud and e-commerce scams to NFT theft, ransomware and more. The cyber-physical nature of the metaverse will also open new doors to threat actors.
Cybercriminals might look to compromise the “digital twin” spaces run by critical infrastructure operators, for sabotage or extortion of industrial systems. Or they could deploy malware to metaverse users’ full body actuator suits to cause physical harm. Assault of avatars has already been reported on several occasions.
Although a fully-fledged metaverse is still some years away, metaverse-like spaces will be commonplace much sooner. Trend Micro’s report seeks to start an urgent dialog about what cyber threats to expect and how they could be mitigated.
Questions to start asking include:
- How will we moderate user activity and speech in the metaverse? And who will be responsible?
- How will copyright infringements be policed and enforced?
- How will users know whether they’re interacting with a real person or a bot? Will there be a Turing Test to validate AI/humans?
- Is there a way to safeguard privacy by preventing the metaverse from becoming dominated by a few large tech companies?
- How can law enforcement overcome the high costs of intercepting metaverse crimes at scale, and solve issues around jurisdiction?
About Trend Micro
Trend Micro, a global cybersecurity leader, helps make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Fueled by decades of security expertise, global threat research, and continuous innovation, Trend Micro’s cybersecurity platform protects hundreds of thousands of organizations and millions of individuals across clouds, networks, devices, and endpoints. As a leader in cloud and enterprise cybersecurity, the platform delivers a powerful range of advanced threat defense techniques optimized for environments like AWS, Microsoft, and Google, and central visibility for better, faster detection and response. With 7,000 employees across 65 countries, Trend Micro enables organizations to simplify and secure their connected world. www.TrendMicro.com
Mike Tyson up in arms with Hulu claims it stole his story
Los Angeles, United States of America (USA)- Former heavyweight boxing champion, Mike Tyson, has accused American streaming service, Hulu, of making a biographical series about his life without his approval and providing him with compensation.
In an Instagram post, Tyson made it clear that he doesn’t support the series, called Mike, and said that Hulu is the streaming version of the slave master.
“Don’t let Hulu fool you. I don’t support their story about my life. It’s not 1822. It’s 2022. They stole my life story and didn’t pay me. To Hulu executives, I am just a n—– they can sell on the auction block.
Hulu tried to desperately pay my brother (UFC president) Dana White millions without offering me a dollar to promote their slave master take-over story about my life. He turned it down because he honours friendship and treats people with dignity. I will never forget what he did for me just like I will never forget what Hulu stole from me.
Hulu stole my story. They are Goliath and I am David. Heads will roll for this. Hulu is the streaming version of the slave master. They stole my story and didn’t pay me. Hulu’s model of stealing the life rights of celebrities is egregiously greedy.
(Neither) Hulu nor any of their supercilious team ever tried to engage in any negotiations with this black man. In their eyes, I am still just a n—– on the auction block ready to be sold for their profit without any regard for my worth or my family. They say this story is an exploration of a black man. It’s more like an exploitation of a black man.
Hulu thinks their tracks are covered by hiring black sacrificial lambs to play the part of frontmen for their backdoor robbery is appalling, but I will always remember this blatant disregard of my dignity.
Someone should get fired from Hulu. Producers were lying to my friends saying I supported the unauthorized series about my life,” said Tyson in an Instagram post.
The eight-episode season of Mike which is set to premiere on the 25th of August stars Michael Jai White, George C. Scott, Paul Winfield, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and Tony Lo Bianco. The show is directed by Uli Edel.
According to Hulu, Mike is an eight-episode limited series, which explores the tumultuous ups and downs of Tyson’s boxing career and personal life from being a beloved global athlete to a pariah and back again.
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