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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Experts Emphasize Importance Of Incremental Improvements With New Flu Vaccine

KHN Morning Briefing

It was shown to be only slightly better than the old one. But baby steps are still forward movement, experts say. In other news on vaccinations: there’s a national shortage on the shingles vaccine; an experimental therapy for type 1 diabetes shows some early stages of success; and officials warn about hot spots for diseases where vaccination rates lag.

A Price Tag On Hope: As Pharma Companies Eye Right To Try, Profit Motives Overtake Any Expected Altruism

KHN Morning Briefing

“Companies cannot be NGOs,” Brainstorm CEO Chaim Lebovits said. “We have to have an incentive.” Health insurers don’t typically pay for treatments that haven’t been approved by regulators or proven to work in clinical trials. That means patients would have to pay for the therapies, which could reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, out of their own pockets.

First Generic Under-The-Tongue Film For Treating Opioid Addiction Approved

KHN Morning Briefing

The news is welcome as brand-name Suboxone film costs about $200 a month without insurance. In other news on the crisis: Kentucky sues Walgreens; vulnerable lawmakers look to win big political points with opioids package; mothers in treatment struggle to keep their children; and more.

In Midst Of Raucous Debate Over 340B Drug Discount Program, Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Address Concerns

KHN Morning Briefing

The measure from Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) could clarify the intent of the program and define which patients are eligible — two bones of contention over the program, which requires pharmaceutical companies to give steep discounts to hospitals and clinics that serve high volumes of low-income patients. In other news from Capitol Hill: CHIP funding, an Indian Health Services bill, and gun control.

Congress Is About To Consider 57 Bills On Opioid Crisis. But Will The Measures Do Anything To Curb The Epidemic?

KHN Morning Briefing

Even as lawmakers gear up to consider a sweeping package of opioid bills, some experts are doubtful the legislation will do enough to address the crisis. However, the bipartisan support for the measures speaks to the fact that lawmakers know it’s a winning topic for the upcoming midterms. Meanwhile, NIH has laid out its $500 million plan to combat the epidemic.

Trump’s Promised ‘Voluntary Massive Drops’ In Drug Prices Haven’t Materialized, But Azar Vows Cuts Are Coming

KHN Morning Briefing

HHS Secretary Alex Azar testified before a Senate panel on Tuesday about what’s being done to curb high drug prices. In his proposals, Azar focused on the complex system of rebates that drug companies and pharmacy-benefit managers use to negotiate and set prices. He also continued to float the idea of allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies.