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The drug industry trade group focused its spending on issues such as generics, the “doughnut hole,” and trade.
Each week, KHN compiles a selection of recently released health policy studies and briefs.
But some advocates are now worried that patients with chronic pain are being undertreated. Meanwhile, NIH wants to conduct research on fentanyl, but the nationwide law-enforcement crackdown on opioid abuse means scientists are having a hard time getting permission to get samples of the illegal products they need to study. And the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on improving Medicaid, Medicare and other programs that cope with the effects of substance abuse.
“We’re not suggesting that nobody is seeing higher costs,” said Murray Aitken, of the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, which released the numbers. “We’re just saying that when we roll everything up, the amount received by manufacturers rose by only 0.6 percent in 2017.”
An FDA advisory panel gave the green light to the drug, which treats epilepsy, and the full agency is expected to give its approval, as well, sometime in June.
Drugmakers are expecting to take a financial hit from the copay accumulator programs that PBMs have begun marketing. And the Supreme Court may review a whistleblower case that could have implications across the pharmaceutical industry.
The measure would kick off a five-year study on the safety and efficacy of marijuana. “As a physician, I’m keenly aware of the need to look for opioid alternatives to treat patients’ chronic pain,” said Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
In an abrupt shift, the National Institutes of Health said it won’t take money from the pharmaceutical industry, and will instead fund the study exclusively through taxpayer dollars. In other news on the crisis: a look at the U.S. Public Health Service’s Commissioned Corps, a 6,500-strong group of health experts fighting the epidemic; how the surgeon general’s advice for Americans to carry naloxone will play out; more states are taking the fight against drugmakers to the courts; and more.
Lawmakers are urging HHS to take steps to bring down the price of the antioverdose medication. Meanwhile, in an election year, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) can’t find Republicans to back her bill to crack down on suspicious opioid shipments, and other lawmakers seek $100 billion to fight the crisis over the next 10 years.
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
News outlets report on stories related to pharmaceutical pricing.
The liquid formula, extracted from a compound in marijuana that doesn’t cause euphoric effects, would be the first government-approved drug derived from the cannabis plant in the U.S.
Scientists have already seen results in mice, and envision the technology as life-changing for couples who struggle with infertility. But the tech would raise a whole host of ethical conundrums. In other public health news: blood pressure, falling, nuts, face transplants, hypertension, and vaccines.
Patrick Kennedy has met regularly with his former congressional colleagues to advocate for higher levels of spending to combat the opioid crisis. But he also has a financial stake in groups that will benefit from that increase in funding. Media outlets report on news on the epidemic out of West Virginia, Massachusetts, Colorado, Florida, Maryland and Wisconsin, as well.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the proposed regulation is intended to address the opioid epidemic, which he called “the deadliest drug crisis in American history.”
The proposed legislation from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would also prohibit companies from direct marketing of opioid products without adequate warning of their addictive properties and establish a reimbursement fund that would collect revenues from the penalties imposed.
“The job of CDC Director is very important to me,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said. He took over the spot following the departure of Brenda Fitzgerald, who left amid controversy over tobacco stocks.
“This is not necessarily an all-clear event for the supply chain,” said Eric Coldwell, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. “Still, it’s a good reminder that Amazon’s supply chain ambitions might not be as big as feared or valuations indicate.”
President Donald Trump’s remarks are expected to coincide with a formal request for information from HHS on various ideas to lower prescription drug costs.
The vaccine would stop opioids by effectively blocking them from reaching the brain by way of the circulatory system. It is one suggestion in a renewed push to treat addiction like a disease rather than a lack of willpower or character flaw.