Selena Simmons-Duffin

Selena Simmons-Duffin reports on health policy for NPR.

She has worked at NPR for ten years as a show editor and producer, with one stopover at WAMU in 2017 as part of a staff exchange. For four months, she reported local Washington, DC, health stories, including a secretive maternity ward closure and a gesundheit machine.

Before coming to All Things Considered in 2016, Simmons-Duffin spent six years on Morning Edition working shifts at all hours and directing the show. She also drove the full length of the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014 for the "Borderland" series.

She won a Gracie Award in 2015 for creating a video called "Talking While Female," and a 2014 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award for producing a series on why you should love your microbes.

Simmons-Duffin attended Stanford University, where she majored in English. She took time off from college to do HIV/AIDS-related work in East Africa. She started out in radio at Stanford's radio station, KZSU, and went on to study documentary radio at the Salt Institute, before coming to NPR as an intern in 2009.

She lives in Washington, DC, with her spouse and kids.

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In gridlocked Washington, both Democrats and Republicans have signaled there's potential for a deal when it comes to lowering prescription drug prices. Now, there's an idea both Congressional Democrats and the White House seem to like: They want to base U.S. prices on something called an international price index.

Bridget Desmukes was surprised when Dr. Rita Driggers, Desmukes' OB-GYN in Washington, D.C., recommended low-dose aspirin at her first prenatal appointment this past spring. She knew about daily low-dose aspirin being prescribed to people recovering from a heart attack or stroke. But for pregnant women?

Plenty of research shows that adverse childhood experiences can lead to depression and other health problems later in life. But researcher Christina Bethell wondered whether positive experiences in childhood could counter that. Her research comes from a personal place.

Peter Grinspoon got addicted to Vicodin in medical school, and still had an opioid addiction five years into practice as a primary care physician.

Then, in February 2005, he got caught.

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The opioid epidemic is expensive. There are the cost of treatment programs. There's the cost of overdose deaths. We've asked NPR's Selena Simmons-Duffin to help us understand the numbers.

Welcome to the program.

SELENA SIMMONS-DUFFIN, BYLINE: Hi.

Today, the judge hearing the opioid case brought by Oklahoma against the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson awarded the state roughly $572 million.

The fact that the state won any money is significant — it's the first ruling to hold a pharmaceutical company responsible for the opioid crisis.

But the state had asked for much more: around $17 billion. The judge found the drugmaker liable for only about 1/30 of that.

High drug prices are a hot topic in politics right now. President Trump has made lowering them a cornerstone of his re-election bid and is pushing a variety of ideas to get that done.

The Trump administration has dropped one of the meatiest portions of its plan to reduce drug prices.

The Department of Health and Human Services said it will no longer pursue a rule that would have prohibited the payment of certain rebates on drugs in Medicare Part D and Medicaid plans.

The idea was to target the middlemen, pharmacy benefit managers, whose negotiations with drugmakers and insurers influence the costs consumers pay for drugs.

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