Volume V, Issue 33

Aug. 13, 2018
Jury Awards $289M to Man Who Blames Roundup for Cancer 
WH
AP, via Time.com, informs us that Dewayne Johnson, 46, alleged that heavy contact with the herbicide Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. On August 10 the California Superior Court jury agreed that Roundup contributed to Johnson's cancer and Monsanto, the manufacturer of the herbicide, should have provided a label warning of the potential health hazard. Monsanto has denied a link between the active ingredient in Roundup - glyphosate - and cancer, saying hundreds of studies have established that glyphosate is safe.

WIM
Th jury's $289 million award to Mr. Johnson will bolster thousands of pending cases and open the door for countless people who blame their suffering on the weed killer, the man's lawyers said.
CMS allows Medicare Advantage plans to negotiate Part B drug prices, implement step therapy
WH
Rose Meltzer reports for Fierce Healthcare on August 7:
 
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is giving Medicare Advantage (MA) plans more power in how they pay for Part B drugs. The agency will allow MA plans to negotiate Part B drug prices with manufacturers, as well as to implement step therapy for Part B drugs. Plans will be required to pass half of the savings generated through negotiation to patients. Negotiating Part B drug prices will foster competition and allow MA plans to get a better deal for their enrollees, according to CMS.
 
WIM  
The move represents perhaps the most significant step in the administration's push to reduce drug prices, offering a new lever to combat ever-increasing costs, according to Ms. Meltzer. 
Does Cigna's merger with Express Scripts rival worst in corporate history?
WH
Chris Isidore reports for CNNMoney on 8.7.18:

Activist investor Carl Icahn is urging other Cigna shareholders to vote against its deal to buy Express Scripts. In a letter to shareholders, entitled "Cigna's $60 billion folly," Icahn claims that Cigna (CI) is dramatically overpaying for a "highly challenged" Express Scripts (ESRX), which faces existential risks.

WIM
According to the author, one of those risks is Amazon, which just purchased online prescription drug company PillPack. Icahn believes Amazon could one day put Express Scripts out of business. Another risk is the Trump administration's ongoing commitment to reign in prescription drug prices (see nearby article entitled CMS Allows MA Plans to Negotiate Part B Drug Prices).

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Florida Health Industry Week in Review is published every Monday by
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Each Monday morning, we share the top healthcare headlines of the previous week and summarize
What Happened (WH) and
Why It Matters (WIM).

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