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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Pharma Dealt A Disappointment Over ‘Doughnut Hole’ Change As Lawmakers Reach Agreement On Opioid Package

KHN Morning Briefing

Negotiators for the House and Senate smoothed out the differences between their two versions on the massive opioid package that lawmakers are banking on as a winning talking point before the midterms. Not included in the final version of the agreement was pharma’s push to use the legislation to roll back a provision that puts them on the hook for covering more drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries. News on the crisis comes out of Minnesota, D.C., and New Jersey, as well.

Lawmakers, Advocates Accuse Pharma Of Trying To Hijack Opioid Bill With ‘Doughnut Hole’ Change

KHN Morning Briefing

The pharmaceutical industry has been trying to get Congress to change a law passed earlier this year that requires drug manufacturers to provide deeper discounts to Medicare beneficiaries whose spending on prescription drugs falls within a range called the coverage gap. The fast-moving, massive opioid package seemed like a perfect opportunity for the drug companies, but the move is sparking outrage from some lawmakers and consumer advocates.

Gilead To Sell Cheaper Generic Version Of Hep C Drug As It Struggles To Compete In Market It Once Dominated

KHN Morning Briefing

The company says that it’s offering the generic treatment so that it can lower costs for patients, but skeptics say Gilead’s expensive hepatitis C drugs has put them behind competitors who are offering much cheaper versions. Meanwhile, an Associated Press investigation finds that it’s been mostly business as usual for pharma, despite President Donald Trump’s vows to cut drugs costs.

‘A Lot Of Opportunities’ Exist For Cutting Drug Costs, Trump Health Official Tells Congress

KHN Morning Briefing

Joe Grogan, OMB’s associate director for health programs, didn’t specify what lawmakers can do before year’s end to stem rising costs, but one bill with bipartisan support helps generic companies obtain samples of brand drugs as part of the development process. News on the industry also spotlights a new lobbying heavyweight for PBM and Medicaid pharmaceutical spending.

Drug Companies Back New California Bill To Protect Integrity Of Research Data From Consumers

KHN Morning Briefing

The legislation comes in reaction to a law that was geared toward protecting consumer privacy. Drug companies say, though, that it could inadvertently invalidate research, make it difficult to obtain funding and ultimately drive scientists from the state. In other industry news, companies in Massachusetts are being wooed by Maryland, and Europe signs off on another Humira copy.

In The Wake Of A Hurricane: Public Health Threats Linger Long After Wind And Rain Dies Down

KHN Morning Briefing

Residents have to worry about everything from bacteria in the standing water, illness at shelters, snakes and mold once a hurricane passes. “This is very much an ongoing disaster,” said Tom Cotter, a team leader for the relief group Americares. In other news about Hurricane Florence: pharmaceutical companies were braced for worst-case scenarios at East Coast plants, but emerged mostly unscathed; a tragic death leaves behind a grieving mother; the death toll from the storm rises; and homeless people are particularly hard hit by the disaster.