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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

How Insulin Prices Have Become A Clear, Simply Rallying Cry For 2020 Democratic Candidates

KHN Morning Briefing

Unlike other health care issues, the rise in insulin prices isn’t that complicated. The personal stories of patients rationing insulin with fatal results paints a clear picture of pharmaceutical companies profiting that candidates can leap upon. In other pharmaceutical news: Democrats target Republicans over high drug costs, presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg wants to go after patent protections, pharma bro Martin Shkreli faces new fraud accusations, and more.

Grocery Pharmacy Consolidations Forcing Mom-And-Pop Drugstores To Close

KHN Morning Briefing

Smaller pharmacies can’t compete with the big chains, so they’re heading toward a status as relics. In other pharmaceutical news: Americans’ tough choice when insurers don’t cover a certain drug, hospitals create their own drugs, and a battle over a preterm birth drug.

Insys Founder Sentenced To 5.5 Years In Prison For Scheme That Involved Bribing Doctors To Prescribe Opioids

KHN Morning Briefing

Federal prosecutors have said that Insys, based in Arizona, embarked on an intensive marketing plan — including paying doctors for sham educational talks and luring others with lap dances — to sell its under-the-tongue fentanyl spray, Subsys, which was federally approved to treat patients with cancer. Meanwhile, McKesson has reached a settlement with its investors over allegations it missed suspicious opioid shipments.

Industry Roundup: J&J Posts Earnings Above Estimates; Critics Bash Short-Term Health Plans; Mergers Edge Toward Finish Line

KHN Morning Briefing

Although Johnson & Johnson posted better than expected earnings, its sales fell short of estimates. Some of the company’s most lucrative medicines face competition from generics and biosimilars. Other news on the health industry focuses on short-term plans, mergers, a teeth-straightening business, a hospital’s efforts to retain patients, and more.

Insurers To Invest $55M In Making Cheaper Versions Of Expensive Generic Drugs In Sign Of Growing Frustration

KHN Morning Briefing

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and 18 of its member organizations are teaming up with Civica Rx, a nonprofit that is already selling drugs used in hospitals to health systems. The move comes not long after California Gov. Gavin Newsom floated a similar proposal, in which the state would contract with outside manufacturers to sell generic drugs under a California label.

Only Government Intervention Can Fix Market For Antibiotics, WHO Warns

KHN Morning Briefing

Without government intervention, the United Nations estimates that resistant infections could kill 10 million people annually by 2050. “We urgently need research and development,” said Sarah Paulin, of WHO. “We still have a window of opportunity but we need to ensure there is investment now so we don’t run out of options for future generations.” In other pharmaceutical news: generic prices, updates on the Chris Collins insider trading case, CAR-T therapy, Medicare programs, and drug recalls.

A Record That Keeps Getting Broken: Hemophilia Treatment Poised To Become Most Expensive Drug In World

KHN Morning Briefing

The gene therapy, which isn’t officially priced yet, was extremely successful in trials. Its maker says that insurers seem on board with paying somewhere between $2 million and $3 million for the drug, which would break the previous record held by Novartis’ spinal muscular atrophy drug. Experts warned when Novartis’ drug was approved at its $2.1 million price that it was setting a bad precedent. In other pharmaceutical news: more updates from the JP Morgan conference, the science behind the Ebola vaccine, a diabetes pill, and more.

What Does An Opioid Crisis Look Like? More Than 100 Billion Pain Pills Shipped Through U.S. During 8-Year Span

KHN Morning Briefing

A legal battle for information waged by The Washington Post and the company that owns the Charleston Gazette-Mail reveals the sheer scope of the opioid crisis in the country. “In excess of 100 billion pills is simply jaw-dropping,” said Peter J. Mougey, a lawyer who helped the newspapers obtain the data. The newly released data, which traces the path of pills from manufacturers and distributors to pharmacies across the country, confirms again that six companies distributed the vast majority of the pain pills.