Pharma Execs Dig In For A Fight Against Outraged Senators
Senators got their first opportunity to prod drugmakers about the wallet-emptying prices they charge for prescription drugs.
Almost in unison, the executives expressed support for eliminating rebates that flow to industry middlemen instead of patients; for increasing transparency about how they set prices; for shifting to a more value-based pricing system, in which outcomes are rewarded. Together they demurred when asked to commit to lowering list prices on drugs like insulin and the blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira.
Kaiser Health News (edited)
FDA Plans Multifaceted Response To Opioid-Abuse Epidemic
The Food and Drug Administration plans new steps to combat the abuse of opioid painkillers, ranging from new dosage forms to small-quantity packaging and new research requirements on drugmakers. The new FDA measures are a further effort to stem the opioid-addiction crisis that has led to an estimated 47,000 opioid-painkiller overdose deaths in 2017 alone. The agency plans for the first time to require makers of opioid pain pills to conduct long-term studies of their drugs' long-term effectiveness. The FDA has long mandated studies about safety, but the testing for possible long-term loss of effectiveness is a new authority for the agency in a law passed by Congress last fall.
By Burton, Published in The Wall Street Journal
U.S. Senators Launch Bipartisan Probe Into Rising Insulin Prices
Two top U.S. senators launched an investigation into rising insulin prices on Friday, sending letters to the three leading manufacturers seeking answers as to why the nearly 100-year-old drug's cost has rapidly risen, causing taxpayers to spend millions of dollars a year. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Senator Ron Wyden, the committee's top Democrat, sent letters to the heads of Eli Lilly and Co, Novo Nordisk A/S and Sanofi SA, the long-time leading manufacturers of insulin.
By Abutaleb, Published in Reuters
There's A New 'Medicare-For-All' Bill In The House. Why Does It Matter?
In many ways, the proposal sounds familiar: The government would establish a health plan that pays for basically all forms of medical care for all citizens. That's how it gets the moniker "Medicare-for-all." Under this plan, patients would not be responsible for any cost sharing of medical expenses, and the government coverage would include hospitals, doctors, preventive care, prescription meds and dental and vision care. Private insurers would not be allowed to sell plans that compete with the government program. Senior citizens would be folded into the new Medicare plan, which would be more generous than their current coverage, and the government would make sure any medical care they are getting is not disrupted. The bill leaves two other government health care payers intact: the Veterans Health Administration and the Indian Health Service.
By Luthra, Published in Kaiser Health News
Moderate Dems Revive Effort To Stabilize ObamaCare Markets
A group of moderate House Democrats will make a push this year to stabilize ObamaCare's markets, reviving an effort that fell to partisan bickering in 2017. The New Democrat Coalition, a caucus of 101 centrists, says the House should "immediately" work with Republicans to bring down ObamaCare premiums and reverse the Trump administration's "sabotage" of the health care law.
By Hellmann, Published in The Hill