KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Perspectives: Pharma Regulations Are Filled With Loopholes Nimble Companies Can Profit From

Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.

Los Angeles Times: A Legal Spat Between Pharmaceutical Companies Defines What's Wrong With Our Drug Regulations
Lawsuits in the pharmaceutical industry are as common as TV ads promoting wonder drugs, never mind the horrific side effects relegated to a breathless, fast-talking voice over at the end. Typically, however, the plaintiffs in these lawsuits accuse the defendants of patent infringement. (The defendants typically strike back by claiming the patents should never have been issued in the first place.) (Michael Hiltzik, 9/12)

The Hill: Misguided Regulation Helped Create The Drug Price Crisis
We should have seen the drug price crisis coming. Over thirty years ago Robert Bork, chief architect of modern antitrust law, warned “predation by abuse of government procedures, including administrative and judicial procedures, presents an increasingly dangerous threat to competition.” (David Balto, 9/6)

Health Affairs: A Billion Here, A Billion There: Selectively Disclosing Actual Generic Drug Prices Would Save Real Money
Despite totaling more than $100 billion, reimbursement for generic drugs has received relatively little policy attention. The combination of a complex distribution system and limited information about actual prices artificially inflates what patients and insurers pay retail pharmacies for generic drugs. A recent study by the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner confirms that retail pharmacies profit more when dispensing generic versus brand drugs. (Steven Lieberman, Margaret Darling, and Paul B. Ginsburg, 9/12)

Morning Consult: When It Comes To The Drug Pricing Debate, Talk Is Cheap
n the last several months, individual companies have begun to take actions in an attempt to address pricing concerns and demonstrate their ability to “self-police” — especially in the face of bad actors that have fueled hatred of the pharmaceutical industry by taking significant price increases on single-source products. These actions have ranged from taking pledges to limit annual price increases to improving transparency of pricing — including disclosing price increases, entering into value-based pricing schemes and devising innovative partnerships to lower the cost of certain medicines for patients — to entering into new partnerships to provide discounts on the medicines they sell at the pharmacy. (Christine Zacherau and April Claassen, 9/6)

The Washington Post: Don’t Let Pharma Take Down A New Maryland Price Gouging Law
In May, Maryland became the first state to take action against the alarming trend of price gouging of off-patent brand-name and generic drugs. The state’s concise new law, which permits the attorney general to argue in front of a court when the price of an older essential medication increases so precipitously as to “shock the conscience,” passed with overwhelming bipartisan votes and broad popular support. Other state legislatures are looking to introduce similar laws across the country. The generic pharmaceutical industry would prefer to see it overturned. (Jeremy A. Greene, 9/8)

Cincinnati Enquirer: Issue 2 To Give Ohio Power To Cut Drug Prices
Americans pay, by far, the highest prices for prescription drugs in the entire world. Couple this with skyrocketing prices for health services, and you have a growing health care crisis. Everyone should be able to afford the medicine their health care providers prescribe. (Nina Turner, 9/11)

The Wall Street Journal: Clinical Drug Trials May Be Coming To Your Doctor’s Office
Roger Pickar was diagnosed with a rare cancer in December 2014. A chef, comedian, husband, father and champion of the local arts community, he was successfully treated for more than a year with standard therapies. When the cancer eventually returned, his oncologist prescribed an “off label” drug—one the Food and Drug Administration had approved for other types of cancer, but not the one that afflicted Roger. That meant it wouldn’t necessarily be covered by insurance. (Amy Abernethy and Sean Khozin, 9/12)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.