KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Drugmakers Would Be Required To Notify HHS, Justify Price Hikes Under New Bill

The companies would have to provide manufacturing, R&D, marketing costs, as well as net profits associated with the drugs. In other pharmaceutical news, consolidation and how it's led to higher drug prices; direct-to-consumer ads and their role in pushing drugs; and what happens when a patient's body turns against the drugs trying to save them.

Stat: Bipartisan Bill Will Be Reintroduced To Make Pharma Justify Price Hikes
A bipartisan group of lawmakers will re-introduce a bill on Tuesday that would require drug makers to justify their pricing and provide a breakdown of their expenses before raising prices on some medicines. Under the Fair Drug Pricing Act, companies will have to notify the US Department of Health and Human Services and submit a report 30 days before they increase the price of certain drugs that cost at least $100 by more than 10 percent in one year, or 25 percent over three years. The bill is being co-sponsored by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), and US Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) (Silverman, 5/15)

Modern Healthcare: Consolidation Spurs Drug Price Spikes 
More consolidation among healthcare distributors and pharmacy benefit managers has led to higher drug prices, according to a new article. The major players in both the distribution market and the PBM sector dominate their markets, the article published Monday in JAMA said. As the firms grew, prices for prescription drugs swelled, the article found. (Kacik, 5/15)

Kaiser Health News: Overwrought Marketing? Ads, Not Research, Create Some Pharma Best-Sellers
An overhead light drawing attention to his face, actor Danny Glover starts to cry, dropping his head into one hand — then, he abruptly switches over to deep belly laughs, before resuming a straight face. “When I act, if I do this it’s totally in my control,” he says, getting to the point: “But for someone with pseudobulbar affect, choosing to cry or laugh may not be your decision. ”The 60-second TV advertisement, which ran widely late last year, concerns a neurological condition known by the acronym PBA, characterized by inappropriate, uncontrolled outbursts of laughing or crying. (Appleby, 5/16)

The New York Times: When The Immune System Thwarts Lifesaving Drugs
The miracle treatment that should have saved Becka Boscarino’s baby boy almost killed him. Doctors diagnosed her newborn son, Magglio, with Pompe disease, a rare and deadly genetic disorder that leads to a buildup of glycogen in the body. Left untreated, the baby would probably die before his first birthday. (Kolata, 5/15)

Meanwhile, Politico investigates lawmakers' investments in a certain biotech company that was caught up in the controversy surrounding Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's nomination —

Politico: Reckless Stock Trading Leaves Congress Rife With Conflicts
Even a looming scandal wouldn’t deter some of Congress’ most eager stock traders. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), President Donald Trump’s nominee to be Health and Human Services secretary, was under siege, the harsh lights of a Senate hearing upon him. News reports showed he had bought shares in a tiny biotechnology company while sitting on committees that could influence the firm’s prospects. A colleague, Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), had tipped him off to the investment. (Severns, 5/14)

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