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The Republicans’ bill would enact a $3,100 cap on out-of-pocket drug expenditures for Medicare beneficiaries and add monthly caps as well. The proposals are identical to ones that are in the Senate’s version of the legislation. In other pharmaceutical news: how to pay for expensive sickle cell treatments; FDA’s approval speed generates alarm; the government investigates possible carcinogens in diabetes drug; lawmakers urge HHS to probe patient assistance programs; and more.
Gilead suspended development of the safer drug for five years, in what advocates claim was a tactic to extend its monopoly on the profits from the older treatment. In other pharmaceutical news: Biogen tries to make a case for its Alzheimer’s drug but some remain unpersuaded; Sage Therapuetics’ shares plummet after bad news on depression treatment; biotech investors say they’re not worried about Congress; and more.
But while the growth in health care usage slowed last year, larger hikes in prices more than offset it. Overall, national health care spending rose to $3.65 trillion in 2018, up 4.6% from 2017, according to an annual report by nonpartisan economic HHS experts. Retail prescription drug prices dipped by 1%, the first drop since 1973.
But the vote would give House Democrats an election talking point and let them show that they can govern despite the impeachment proceedings. The legislation would allow HHS to negotiate lower prices for up to 250 drugs per year, with the lower prices applied to people with private insurance as well as Medicare.
States involved in the opioid dispute with the company argued against the bonus. “Purdue should not award bonus payments to [CEO Craig Landau] before resolving the allegations that Landau committed deadly, illegal misconduct,” they said. Purdue Pharma said maintaining its bonus program is essential to keep key employees on the job.
The study found that in one drug only 1% of an estimated 276,000 serious adverse events had been reported. Researchers say they data emphasizes the need for better surveillance of the risk of injury. In other pharmaceutical news: biotechs react to the House drug pricing bill, another drugmaker admits to price fixing, a new medicine might help curb dementia-related delusions, and more.
A coalition that includes major drugmakers like Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson is running ads featuring workers in hard hats and hiring former labor officials and well-known union lobbyists to deliver their message. Many see the pairing between pharma and the unions as an odd one, because members often struggle with the high costs of drugs. Meanwhile, the White House contends that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug plan will hurt innovation.
Some American cities with high HIV rates already have programs that pay the costs of PrEP for the uninsured, but the new program — called Ready, Set, PrEP — marks the first time the government is supplying the drug to patients not enrolled in Medicaid, the Veterans Health Administration or any other federal health program.
Dr. Stephen Hahn is a noted oncologist from Texas and was nominated by President Donald Trump to replace former FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb. He would be stepping into the job as the F.D.A. is confronting several crises, among them, the continuing outbreak of vaping-related lung diseases. Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) both aired concerns during the vote about Hahn’s commitment to tackling e-cigarettes.
For only $1 a day, early deaths can be prevented among toddlers whose mothers find the strawberry-flavored meds easier to dispense. News on HIV among infants is on the importance of starting treatment right after birth, as well.
And Pfizer and Novartis are leading the pack. The risks involved with drugmakers building their own manufacturing plants are big but so are the potential rewards. In other pharmaceutical news: a high-stakes bet on heart drugs, an invite-only club for biotech CEOs, President Donald Trump’s importation plan, and more.
Prosecutors are examining whether the companies violated the federal Controlled Substances Act, which requires companies to report orders of controlled substances that are unusually large or frequent, or that substantially deviate from norm. The probe is in its early stages.
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
Read about the biggest pharmaceutical development and pricing stories from the past week in KHN’s Prescription Drug Watch roundup.
The FTC, however, says the deals cost U.S. consumers an estimated $3.5 billion annually. In other pharmaceutical news: anti-trust probes, a billionaire couple’s work to move the House drug pricing bill through, the strategy behind Novartis’ recent acquisition, brain boosting supplements, and more.
“Everybody’s been waiting for this moment where the flood gate of new treatments is opening,” said Dr. Biree Andemariam, chief medical officer of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. But the new drug is expensive: Global Blood Therapeutics priced Oxbryta at $125,000 a year.
PhRMA, which is responsible for 90 percent of the Addiction Policy Forum’s funding, will walk back and then end its support by 2020. The forum was at the eye of previous controversy, with critics blasting the fact that most of its funding came from the drugmakers who they said were responsible for the crisis in the first place. News on the opioid epidemic comes out of Massachusetts and Ohio, as well.
Data from the opioid crisis shows just how much racial bias about the pain tolerance of African American patients plays out in real life. In other news on the crisis: a growing concern that babies will be left out of financial settlements from drugmakers, a ban on addiction treatment dollars going to medical marijuana research, needle exchanges, overdose training and more.
“We will soon be putting more options on the table…” President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday. But it’s unclear how or if the proposal differs from one outlined this summer. Both drug companies and Canada — where the drugs would supposedly come from — oppose the idea. In other pharmaceutical news: Trump backs off from Medicare negotiation pledge, Novartis bets on heart drugs, an experimental dengue vaccine looks promising, and more.