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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

A Month On The Job And HHS Secretary Is Already Lowering Drug Prices, According To Trump

KHN Morning Briefing

HHS Secretary Alex Azar is “setting the world on fire,” President Donald Trump said. Although Azar has signaled that drug prices are a priority, he’s not yet taken dramatic action on the subject. Meanwhile, an Illinois state lawmaker has introduced legislation intended to stop price-gouging on generic drugs.

House Lawmakers To Begin Big Push On Tackling Opioid Crisis With Hearings Starting Next Week

KHN Morning Briefing

The policies that lawmakers will examine include updating scheduling guidelines to help clamp down on synthetic opioids, letting hospice workers dispose of unused drugs, expanding access to behavioral health telemedicine in rural areas, and more. Meanwhile, a news study finds some states simply don’t have enough doctors to properly address the epidemic.

Could This Century-Old Law Be Used To Curb Drug Prices? Democrats Think So

KHN Morning Briefing

The law could allow HHS to use a patented invention — in this case hep C drugs — and the drugmaker wouldn’t be able to do anything about it other than to demand “reasonable” compensation. Democrats want HHS to take this step in hopes that a lower-cost generic could be manufactured. Meanwhile, HHS Secretary Alex Azar says the administration is exploring more actions on cutting high drug costs.

Is Alzheimer’s A Glitch Of Our Brain’s Ancient Immune System?

KHN Morning Briefing

Connecting Alzheimer’s and the immune system was a radical idea at first but these scientists pushed on. In other news, FDA has opened the doors to drugs that would treat people who have biomarkers of a disease but aren’t yet showing symptoms.

In Face Of Skepticism, HHS Secretary Vows Trump’s Proposed Budget Really Would Lower Drug Prices

KHN Morning Briefing

HHS Secretary Alex Azar pointed to two specific provisions as he defended the plan: how Medicare Part D recipients who have reached the “catastrophic coverage” phase would have more of the cost of their prescription drugs paid for by private insurance and how the administration has proposed changing the way in which out-of-pocket costs are calculated.

Surge Of Babies Born Addicted To Opioids Has Outpaced Science Of How To Treat Them

KHN Morning Briefing

Hospitals around the United States are taking a scattershot approach to treating the tremors, hard-to-soothe crying, diarrhea, and other hallmark symptoms of newborn abstinence syndrome. In other news: a medication-assisted treatment program in Rhode Island jails shows success; public health advocates are concerned with the pick for “drug czar”; the surgeon general has advice about supporting long-time recovery in those battling addiction; senators want information on if new opioid rules are working; and more.

More Than 320 Counties, Cities And States Are Suing Drugmakers For Role In Opioid Epidemic

KHN Morning Briefing

Local and state leaders have been turning toward the legal system in their battle against the opioid crisis. In other news, the White House has approved research into which addiction treatments actually work best; doctors say Purdue’s decision to stop marketing OxyContin is “20 years late”; and experts react to Attorney General Jeff Session’s comments that patients should just “take some aspirin sometimes and tough it out a little bit.”