National News
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb Announces Resignation 
After two years in the position, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, has announced that he is leaving the agency. During his tenure at FDA, the agency approved a record number of generic medications, new drugs, and medical devices. He also led the agency in responding to the opioid crisis. Until a new commissioner is approved by the US Senate, the agency will be led by acting-commissioner Norman "Ned" Sharpless, MD, Director of the National Cancer Institute.
US Measles Cases Hit Highest Mark In 25 Years
Measles in the U.S. has climbed to its highest level in 25 years, closing in on 700 cases this year in a resurgence largely attributed to misinformation that is turning parents against vaccines. "This is alarming," said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University vaccine expert. Not only is measles dangerous in itself, but its return could mean other vaccine-preventable diseases seemingly consigned to the past may be coming back as well, he said.
By Stobbe, Published in The Associated Press
Report: Public Health Funding Falls Despite Increasing Threats
Years of budget cuts to public health led to the elimination of more than 55,000 positions within local health departments from 2008 through 2017, according to a report released Wednesday. The Trust for America's Health estimates public health efforts are about $4.5 billion underfunded. That's led state and local health departments woefully unprepared to address public health emergencies such as infectious disease outbreaks, extreme weather events, and the opioid crisis.
By Johnson, Published in modern Healthcare
Medicare, Social Security Face Shaky Fiscal Futures
The financial condition of the government's bedrock retirement programs for middle- and working-class Americans remains shaky, with Medicare pointed toward insolvency by 2026, according to a report Monday by the government's overseers of Medicare and Social Security. It paints a sobering picture of the programs, though it's relatively unchanged from last year's update. Social Security would become insolvent in 2035, one year later than previously estimated.
By Taylor, Published in The Associated Press
Pharma Lobby Nears Spending Records With Drug Prices Under Fire 
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America trade group, which represents 37 drug companies, spent $9.91 million in the first quarter, up from $6.03 million during the last quarter of 2018, and just shy of its record a year earlier, according to disclosures filed with Congress before a Monday deadline. Drug companies are facing an unprecedented threat to their pricing practices as the president and lawmakers from both parties have targeted the high costs of drugs. That has become one of the few areas of bipartisan agreement in an otherwise divisive political climate.
By Brody, Published in Bloomberg
State News

New E-Prescribing Bill to Limit Fraud and Abuse 
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law a bill that will require prescriptions for CS to be moved to a paperless, e-prescription system by January 1, 2021. Senate Bill 174 was introduced in February, and received bipartisan support in both houses of the state's legislature. Supporters hope that the bill will help to reduce fraud and abuse, particularly in regard to opioids. "We have a drug abuse challenge in the state of Arkansas. Specifically, opioids are one of the big challenges we have, and again prescription opioids are a subset of that, and it's one of the places where people can get started," State House Representative Justin Boyd said in an interview with 5 News. According to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, 15 states have now enacted e-prescribing legislation in relation to the opioid crisis.
From Napb e-news
Arkansas Sues 3 Drug Distributors Over Opioid Crisis
Arkansas' attorney general on Thursday sued three drug distributors for their alleged role in the opioid crisis, claiming the companies failed to monitor and report suspicious shipments of opioids into the state. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed the lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court against Cardinal Health, McKesson Corporation and AmerisourceBergen. The lawsuit claims the companies' conduct has cost consumers and the state millions of dollars in payments for opioid orders that were illegal, misrepresented, unfair or harmful to consumers.
By The Associated Press

Kentucky Keeps the Heat on PBMs
Attorney General Andy Beshear has launched an investigation into allegations that PBMs have overcharged state health insurance programs for drugs and discriminated against independent pharmacies. In a statement, Beshear said he is seeking details on how PBMs have determined, billed and paid drug reimbursement rates over the past five years in Kentucky.
"PBMs were originally established to help companies and government programs better manage pharmacy costs but have grown into powerful industry middlemen that go to great lengths to hide and complicate drug pricing information," Beshear said. A report released last month by the state Medicaid agency indicated that two PBMs took in $123.5 million last year from the state Medicaid program by paying pharmacies a lower rate to fill prescriptions, while charging the state more for the same drugs, Beshear said.
More Cities Suing Big Pharma

Three Macomb County communities on Wednesday filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, distributors and prescribers, seeking damages for creating a public health crisis - and an economic burden - by getting its residents hooked on opioid pain relievers. Sterling Heights, Warren and Harrison Township filed their suits in Macomb County Circuit Court, saying drug manufacturers used deceptive marketing to promote the use of highly addictive opioid pills. In doing so, the communities join dozens of other Michigan cities and counties - including Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Pittsfield Township and Genesee, Grand Traverse and Macomb counties - involved in similar legal action.
By Kovanis, Published in Detroit Free Press
Supreme Court Rejects Request To Delay Opioid Trial
The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday denied a request by drugmakers to delay the start of an upcoming trial against them in the state for allegedly helping to fuel the opioid epidemic. Oklahoma's case is expected to be the first state lawsuit against opioid manufacturers to go to trial.
By Weixel, Published in The HIll


Legislature takes on PBMs
Tennessee is taking on PBMs in this year's legislative session. There are three bills currently introduced - HB 786, HB 884, and SB 650 - that would address a slew of common PBM abuses, from unfair audit practices to retroactive claim adjudication fees to PBM prohibitions on pharmacists' communications with patients. One of the bills would also require the state comptroller to perform an annual audit of all PBMs providing services funded by the state. Championed by the Tennessee Pharmacists Association, these bills would provide much-needed protections for patients, relief for pharmacies, and more transparency for the state.
states on this issue.
Feds Intend To Sue Tennessee Lawmaker Over Pain Clinics
Federal prosecutors said they intend to file a lawsuit against a Tennessee state senator and other co-owners of a now-shuttered pain clinic company. Court filings said Comprehensive Pain Specialists, which was based in Tennessee and once operated in 12 states, defrauded the government of millions of dollars by submitting claims for unnecessary procedures and falsifying documents.
By Loller, Published in The Associated Press
PFOA Board of Directors
Todd Pendergraft

Dirk Andrepont
Ron Robichaux
Vice President
Doug Coyle

Gabriel Guijarro
Ty Stout
Phil Rigsby

Gaye Moseman
John Zuzak

Larry McIntosh

Eric Pusey 

PFOA-MS Board of Directors
Dirk Andrepont

John Zuzak

David Cole
Phil Rigsby

PFOA-MC Board of Directors
Eric Pusey
Vice President

Bobbie Barbrey

For Board of Directors contact information, please call 314-843-5977