KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Physician Disclosure Website Back On Track

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announces it has fixed the glitch that took down the website where doctors and hospitals can review information about payments from drug and device makers.  Meanwhile, The New York Times looks at how costly compounded medicines are drawing the ire of health insurers, and a U.K. agency recommends the government pay for a costly new hepatitis treatment.

The Wall Street Journal’s Pharmalot: CMS Fixes Tech Glitch That Hobbled Pharma Payment Disclosures
The federal government is back online with a website where U.S. doctors and teaching hospitals can review information about payments they have received from drug and device makers, about 11 days after a government agency shut it down to investigate a data mix-up. In a brief statement Thursday afternoon, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said: “The Open Payments system is once again available for physicians and teaching hospitals to register, review and dispute financial interaction information received from health care manufacturers and Group Purchasing Organizations.” CMS plans to provide additional details about the program “by tomorrow” (Loftus, 8/14).

The New York Times: Pharmacies Turn Drugs Into Profits, Pitting Insurers Vs. Compounders
Compounded medicines are the Savile Row suits of the pharmacy, made to order when common treatments will not suffice. Pharmacists say it is the doctors who decide what to prescribe. But many pharmacies have standard formulations and some promise six-figure incomes to sales representatives who call on doctors (Pollack, 8/14).

The Wall Street Journal’s Pharmalot: UK Recommends Covering Sovaldi Hepatitis C Pill
The U.K. agency that evaluates the cost effectiveness of prescription drugs has recommended the government pay for the controversial Sovaldi hepatitis C treatment, although not for all patients. The move, which still requires a final endorsement, comes as the medicine causes a ruckus in the U.S. The price tag–$84,000 for a 12-week regimen–has insurers and state Medicaid directors worried that the Gilead Sciences medication will become a budget buster and helped to fuel a national debate over the rising cost of prescription drugs (Silverman, 8/14).

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