news·4 min read

Daily Skimm: Medication, Uvalde, and Jennifer Lopez

A physician holds a blank prescription pad
Design: theSkimm | Image: iStock
Jul 18, 2022

Not Immune

The Story

The reversal of Roe v. Wade is impacting patients with autoimmune conditions.

What do you mean?

This is about methotrexate. It’s one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for patients with serious inflammatory conditions like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis. It can also be used for some cancer patients. And works by helping to suppress the immune system. But since SCOTUS ruled last month to end Roe v. Wade, there has been a wave of reports that pharmacies are refusing to fill prescriptions.

Why’s that?

The drug has the potential to be used for abortions and can be prescribed to treat ectopic pregnancies. Now, some doctors and pharmacists have reportedly been hesitant to prescribe or fill it. They may be worried about violating abortion bans. Or it could conflict with their own personal beliefs. In Texas, there are laws that could make dispensing methotrexate to someone who uses it to end a pregnancy a felony. South Carolina allows providers to refuse non-emergency care that conflicts with their religious values.

What about those who need it?

The Department of Health and Human Services has said it would investigate reports. That’s after the American College of Rheumatology, the Arthritis Foundation, and other orgs have sounded the alarm. They have even set up helplines to try to support patients as they navigate challenges getting access to this medication. 


Methotrexate is an important medication for millions of Americans. Now, many find themselves navigating an increasingly complex health care system to get access to vital treatment.

PS: We spoke to experts including the president of the American College of Rheumatology to better understand the crisis. Read here.

And Also...This

What tried to build a clearer picture...

A Texas House committee. Yesterday, it released its report on the Uvalde, TX, elementary school shooting. The report came nearly two months after an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School, killing 19 children and two teachers. Many have questioned how a school shooter was able to access the school and remained barricaded within a classroom full of kids for over an hour while police were outside the door. The report says it can’t blame one person or group, but that it found “systemic failures and egregious poor decision making.” This was despite the fact that there were 376 responders — including US Border Patrol, Uvalde police, and SWAT teams. The report could not cite any “villains” other than the shooter. Now, parents, who’ve waited weeks for officials to provide answers, feel that they’ll never be able to “get the truth” and have accused officials of participating in a “coverup.” Meanwhile…

  • Greenwood, Indiana: Yesterday, a man with a rifle opened fire in a mall, killing three people. Police say an armed bystander killed the gunman, ending the assault. All of this comes as...

  • The Parkland trial: Today, the sentencing trial kicks off over the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead. The gunman, who has pleaded guilty, faces the death penalty.

Who’s rolling with the punches…

President Biden. Over the weekend, he returned from Saudi Arabia. One big talker of the trip was the photo op: Biden fist bumped Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He then says he blamed MBS personally for the 2018 death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But the crown prince reportedly responded with allegations of US-related human rights concerns, including the abuse of prisoners in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib. Ultimately, the main focus of the conversation was on Saudia Arabia’s security concerns (like from Iran) and economic investments. Oh, and about whether Saudi Arabia can help bring down the US’s oil bills: there’s no update yet. The US will have to wait until OPEC+ countries meet up next month to see whether they increase production.

Where people are looking for relief…

Europe. Since last week, firefighters across Europe have been struggling to contain wildfires caused by extreme temperatures. Fires have been raging in Portugal, Spain, France, and Greece — causing thousands of acres in damage and forcing about 14,000 people to evacuate. There have been no deaths from the fires. But at least 237 people have died in Spain last week from extreme heat. Many are blaming climate change

  • Back in the US: On Friday, President Biden said he’d take “strong executive action” on climate change. The news came after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) refused to support climate investment in the Democrats’ proposed budget package. Manchin says Congress needs to focus on inflation numbers and gas prices first.

When you’re still not over the JLo and Ben Affleck news...


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Dr. Fauci has answers.

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