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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Behind-The-Scenes Look At How A Drugmaker Is Causing ‘Insanely High’ Drug Levels In Nation’s Waterways

KHN Morning Briefing

“It always bothered me pouring pharmaceuticals down the drain,” a former employee at generic-drug giant Mylan told Stat. Other public health news reports on the development of a potential E. coli vaccine, improving knee health by running marathons (yes), the toll on parents when teens are abusive and a look at why New York has the lowest suicide rates.

Dems’ Drug Pricing Bill May Be Destined For Eventual Death In Senate, But Its Political Life Is Only Just Beginning

KHN Morning Briefing

It’s likely that Democrats are viewing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug pricing bill as a political tool rather than a realistic goal. The legislation is already being used in ads for vulnerable Democrats and candidates are planning to tout it as a main component of their health care agendas. “Republicans will spend the next year defending their decision to block Medicare from lowering prescription drug prices for everyone,” said Jesse Ferguson, a veteran Democratic messaging consultant. After Pelosi secured a deal with the progressive wing of her party, the House is set to vote on the bill on Thursday.

Exclusivity Provision For Biologic Drugs Stripped From Trump’s Trade Deal In Win For Dems, Slap In Face For Pharma

KHN Morning Briefing

Democrats argue that enshrining a 10-year guarantee in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement would have tied Congress’ hands if lawmakers wanted to change the threshold. “This deal would have caused prices of prescription drugs in those countries to skyrocket,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). Pharmaceutical lobbyists were harsh in their assessment: “This was an unforced error and very, very weak negotiating.”

UnitedHealth To Acquire Specialty Drug Provider Diplomat Pharmacy At A Steep Discount

KHN Morning Briefing

“This combination will expand the innovative specialty pharmacy and infusion solutions OptumRx can offer to the consumers and clients we serve,” said John Prince, the chief executive of OptumRx, a division under UnitedHealth. In other health industry news: cigarette stocks rebrand, a former executive pleads guilty to fraud, Banner Health agrees to a settlement over a data breach.

House Republicans To Offer Up Their Own Plan To Combat High Drug Prices To Counter Dems’ Aggressive Bill

KHN Morning Briefing

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.

Advocates: Gilead Exploited Patent System By Delaying Development Of Safer HIV Drug In Order To Reap Profits

KHN Morning Briefing

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.

It’s Common Knowledge That Many Side Effects Don’t Get Reported To FDA. But Study Reveals Startling Scope Of Problem.

KHN Morning Briefing

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.