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The drug costs $34,000 and women have to stay at a medical center for more than 60 hours to receive the injection. So while many researchers were excited about the new drug, other experts say it is unlikely to help many who need it.
Drug after drug after drug that targeted a brain compound called beta amyloid have failed over the years. “We are running out of excuses” for why beta-amyloid treatments aren’t working, said Zaven Khachaturian, editor-in-chief of the medical journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia. But drugmakers “keep trying, hoping that the path they are on is going to give blockbuster drugs.”
Economists say that part of the reason price transparency won’t do much to the market is not only because consumers don’t pay list prices but they also don’t really choose which medication they’re buying. And, unlike with toothpaste or soda, it’s not easy for a consumer to switch brands of medicine. In other pharmaceutical news: pharmacy benefits managers will have their day getting grilled by lawmakers, how the NAFTA deal may hinge on intellectual property protections for pharma products, and more.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote that the government will step in if even further than it already has if the e-cigarette industry doesn’t take an active role in curbing the epidemic. Meanwhile, in a podcast, Gottlieb talks about his work at the agency and if he’ll ever return to the government.
More than 5,000 of the current 18,000 comments were made public this week, and nearly all of them support the proposal with very similar wording that matches a RetireSafe-sponsored form letter available at the website SubmitForChange.org. In other pharmaceutical news: Pfizer makes a gene-therapy deal, AbbVie is sued over its patent deals, and the FDA is taking steps to cut down on blood pressure medication recalls.
Experts offer an in-depth look at the belief system behind the Kentucky lawsuit filed by a family who didn’t vaccinate their son because of their religious beliefs. The Varicella vaccine, specifically, is derived from the cell lines of two fetuses that were electively aborted in the 1960s. “There are no further abortions that have occurred to continue these cell lines,” said Josh Williams, an assistant professor. Meanwhile, antivaccination activists are targeting parents on Facebook who recently lost a child with cruel taunts.
But the infusion will be expensive, averaging $34,000 per patient before discounts, and the women would have to stay in a medical center for two and a half days. Still, many experts cheered the new treatment that would offer relief much quicker than current drugs, which kick in after weeks if at all.
Experts are worried this behavior could be extremely dangerous for the patients. “We have lots of treatments where if you don’t take them exactly as prescribed, you might be doing more harm than good,” said Stacie Dusetzina, a health policy researcher at Vanderbilt University. Other ways patients are trying to control costs are by asking for cheaper drugs from doctors or seeking out alternative therapies. Meanwhile, Ohio’s attorney general is suing UnitedHealth’s OptumRx unit alleging it overcharged the state for prescription drugs.
The ad is the latest example of Democratic attacks on the Trump administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2020. Democrats saw health care as a winning issue in the midterms, and are hoping to repeat that success in upcoming elections. Other Medicaid news comes out of Tennessee, Ohio, Georgia and Idaho.
“I remain concerned about the appearance of conflicts of interest by individuals associated with AAPM, including yourself, on committees and panels related to pain treatment and opioid prescribing that are convened throughout the federal government,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wrote to the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s president, Dr. Jainguo Cheng. In other news on the opioid epidemic: drugmaker face bankruptcy; investigation into Ohio hospital continues; doctors skeptical about marijuana’s role in curbing epidemic; and more.
Combating high drug costs has been universally looked at as one of the few bipartisan issues that might get through the divided Congress. But the cracks are already starting to show even when it comes to relatively small-scale bills. Meanwhile, lawmakers are calling pharmaceutical benefit manager executives to appear in Congress next month.
Families say the decision to retrieve the sperm of a loved one should be left to them, while doctors and ethicisits worry about the wide-ranging moral complications of starting a life that would otherwise not exist if not for medical technology. In other public health news: eating out while being overweight, medical devices, mental health, parenting, the immune system, infant tongue-ties, exercising, and more.
Pharmacy benefit managers typically negotiate rebates from pharmaceutical companies to help offset the high initial prices set for many drugs. But those discounts rarely flow directly to consumers. The rebate system has come under intense scrutiny as of late as lawmakers take aim at high drug prices and pharma companies point the blame elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee plans to call executives from five pharmacy benefit managers–the middlemen who operate within the rebate system–to testify in front of Congress next month.
Dr. Norman E. (Ned) Sharpless’ work as the director of the National Cancer Institute has focused on the relationship between aging and cancer, and the development of new treatments for melanoma, lung cancer and breast cancer. Although Sharpless has been mentioned as a possible successor to departing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said this is a temporary appointment and the search for a permanent commissioner is underway.
President Donald Trump released his $4.75 trillion budget, which included a big increase in military spending and deep cuts to other domestic spending. The presidential budget is all but dead-on-arrival on Capitol Hill and can be viewed more as a symbolic roadmap for priorities than a realistic spending plan. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump’s cuts “cruel and shortsighted … a roadmap to a sicker, weaker America,” while other Democrats were also quick to condemn the proposal.
Despite the fact that costly immunotherapy drugs help only a small minority of patients, breast cancer doctors are calling the approval “tremendously exciting.” In other pharmaceutical news: biologics and drugs for preventing premature births.
Oklahoma is seeking payments that could exceed $1 billion from drugmakers to cover the costs of coping with the drug crisis. While much of the nation’s attention has been focused on the massive, consolidated Ohio trial, the Oklahoma case will actually be the first one to see its day in court. Meanwhile, Purdue Pharma defends the timing on its possible decision to file for bankruptcy.
The news could help patients who struggle to remember to take the daily pills, but cost remains a sticking point with the shots. In other public health news: Ebola, cigarette warnings, meat safety, the flu, second-hand smoke, and more.
With the help of a contraband smartphone, disgraced pharma executive Martin Shkreli is still calling the shots at Phoenixus AG, the drug company that used to be called Turing Pharmaceuticals AG. The Wall Street Journal goes inside the prison walls to see just what kind of life Shkreli is leading. In other pharmaceutical news: in a drug pricing hearing, Republicans warn against lawmakers undermining innovation; FDA issues a draft on naming features for biosimilar medicines; Anthem promises more transparency with its new PBM; and more.
Members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission met to discuss ways to curb high drug prices in Medicare Part B, the portion of Medicare that pays for drugs administered in a doctor’s office. The commission, which is made up of economists, doctors, and various other health policy experts, is not well-known outside of D.C., but their suggestions carry a lot of weight with lawmakers who are looking to improve Medicare.