KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Private Insurers Clamp Down On Drug Prices

More health plans are refusing to cover certain brand-name drugs unless drugmakers offer discounts for them, reports The New York Times. Meanwhile, drug companies are trying to change a federal program designed to allow certain hospitals that treat large numbers of the poor to buy drugs more cheaply, but which critics say allows them to use those savings to pad profits.

The New York Times: Health Insurers Pressing Down On Drug Prices
Determined to slow the rapid rise in drug prices, more health plans are refusing to cover certain drugs unless the companies charge less for them. The strategy appears to be getting pharmaceutical makers to compete on price. Some big-selling products, like the respiratory medicine Advair and the diabetes drug Victoza, have suffered precipitous declines in market share because Express Scripts, the biggest pharmacy benefits manager, recently stopped paying for them for many patients (Pollack, 6/20).

Kaiser Health News: Drug Discount Policy For Hospitals, Clinics Under Scrutiny
A federal program designed to allow certain safety net hospitals and clinics to save money on drug purchases is under fire from critics who say the facilities are using that money to pad profits rather than help patients. The 340B drug pricing program lets thousands of hospitals, community health centers and family planning clinics buy outpatient prescription medications from manufacturers at an estimated 25 to 50 percent discount. Participants can then charge higher rates to insured patients and keep the additional revenue” (Carey, 6/23).

In other marketplace news, KPMG is boosting its health care consulting practice -

The Wall Street Journal: KPMG Expected To Announce Deal To Boost Health-Care Practice
KPMG LLP is buying Zanett Commercial Solutions, a Cincinnati-based technology-consulting firm that will help the Big Four accounting firm beef up the services it provides to health-care clients. The deal is expected to be announced Monday. Financial terms aren't being disclosed (Rapoport, 6/23).

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