Screening News Weekly Wrap: August 21st, 2020

About 4 min

Screening News Weekly Wrap: August 21st, 2020

Opioid settlement demands keep soaring, employers in Philadelphia have a new rule to follow, and a COVID-19 test that takes just one second! It’s all in today’s EBI Screening News Network Weekly Wrap.


 

Purdue Pharma Facing Huge Payouts

Now bankrupt Purdue Pharma, best known for creating and pushing opioid pain medications like OxyContin, continues to face demands for massive financial settlements.

The company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy almost a year ago. The filing included terms for paying restitution to both the federal government and communities hit hard by the epidemic. We’ve reported on the settlement quite a bit over the years. Now, as things continue to move through the courts, the proposed settlement numbers continue to swell.

New filings show the justice department is now seeking more than $18 billion dollars in criminal and civil lawsuits. Federal prosecutors are still investigating if the company misbranded its drugs, and if it violated anti-kickback laws by offering cash to doctors and pharmacies to over-prescribe and dispense OxyContin.

The states are not leaving everything to the feds. Additional filings in the case show states are now seeking $2.2 trillion, accusing the company of pushing the highly addictive drugs on their citizens, causing addiction and costing more than 450,000 lives.

Philadelphia Salary History Ban

Employers in Philadelphia have an important deadline coming. After years of court battles, the city’s Salary History Ban will finally go into effect on September 1st.

It’s taken three years to get the Wage Equity Ordinance into place. After it was passed in 2017, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia sued claiming it violated free speech rights. The judge agreed and blocked the portion of the law that kept employers from asking the salary question. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the injunction saying the goal of pay equity “outweighs any infringement on free speech rights.”

The ordinance now prohibits all employers in the city limits from asking job applicants how much they were paid in their previous positions. The goal is to prevent the new employer from using that number to set a job applicants’ compensation.

The ordinance only applies to employers interviewing applicants for positions located within the city limits.

Companies covered by this ordinance need to check not only their interviewing policies, but their paperwork as well, to be sure they are not asking for previous salary in any way.

One Second COVID-19 Test???

One of the most difficult issues for employers during COVID-19 is testing taking too long. Getting test results could take several days, or in some cases, several weeks. With that kind of lag, it’s practically impossible for employers to keep people on the job while ensuring everyone’s safety.

Yale University and the NBA partnered earlier this summer to help develop a saliva test that could give results in 10 to 15 minutes. While it’s quick, researchers are finding those with lower levels of infection are not showing up as positive.

Now, imagine being able to tell if someone has COVID-19 in one second! Scientists in Israel have developed a test that is giving 95% accurate results in that second. All you do is gargle mouthwash and spit it into a USB-powered machine that’s about the size of an ashtray.

The device is still being tested, but if the great results continue, it could be available internationally by the end of the year.

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