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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Disappointment Surrounding Alzheimer’s Treatment Has Reached Almost Mythical Heights. But Is There A ‘Cabal’ Behind All Those Failures?

KHN Morning Briefing

For some experts it is increasingly apparent that there is another, more disturbing reason for the tragic lack of progress being made in Alzheimer’s research. A group of researchers had been so determined that one approach would work, few tried anything else. In other pharmaceutical news: AbbVie announces $63 billion deal to acquire Allergan, an analysis finds drugmakers often commit to follow-up studies after approval but few of them are new; and more.

FDA’s Approval Of Drug To Improve Low Libido In Women Rekindles Debate About Medication, Human Sexuality

KHN Morning Briefing

Skeptics of drugs like Vyleesi balk at the idea of a pharmaceutical product playing a role in sexual desire. To them, prescribing a drug women with low sexual drive misguidedly reduces the complexity of the condition to a biological issue. Experts say they don’t expect many women to seek the treatment as the drug can only be administered through injections.

Struggling To Curb Veteran Suicide, VA Approves Costly Depression Drug Amid Accusations It’s Rushing The Process

KHN Morning Briefing

The agency is racing to get the drug through the approval process after President Donald Trump signaled support for the treatment. But psychiatrists and medical researchers, including some at the VA, raised questions about the drug’s effectiveness and safety, and Democratic lawmakers question why the decision-making on the drug has been so rushed.

The Next Big Question In Opioid Court Cases: Will The Spoils Be Divided Up Fairly?

KHN Morning Briefing

With so many counties, cities, municipalities and states in the game, everyone is vying for their equal share of the millions expected to come out of the court cases against the opioid-makers. Meanwhile, David Sackler, of Purdue Pharma notoriety, speaks out in defense of the company. In other news on the opioid epidemic: FDA’s opioid approvals, data on prescriptions, international guidelines for painkillers, and more.

Sham Drug Prices Hearing Gives Progressives The Floor To Air Grievances With Leadership, Poke Fun At Pharma

KHN Morning Briefing

Progressive lawmakers had invited Big Pharma CEOs to participate in a hearing, but as a political group and not a formal congressional committee, the Progressive Caucus has little power to compel the industry figures’ presence. The hearing, however, provided an outlet for lawmakers to signal their frustration with Democratic leadership’s approach to drug prices. Meanwhile, following a lobbying blitz, lawmakers consider dialing down bill on patents.

Amazon Wants To Cut PBMs Out Of Drug Sales Pipeline By Contracting Directly With Health Plans, Employers

KHN Morning Briefing

By contracting directly with health plans and employers, Amazon-PillPack would essentially become its own pharmacy benefit manager, which, given Amazon’s distribution capabilities, could quickly shake up the nation’s prescription drug market. Court documents in a case about personnel revealed the strategy that many in the industry fear. In other pharmaceutical news: a drug-price watchdog group with ties to pharma; Merck’s expansion into cancer treatments; and more.

Deepening Quarrel Between White House Officials, HHS Secretary Threatens To Derail President’s Top Health Agenda Items

KHN Morning Briefing

Politico talked to a dozen current and former White House and HHS officials, as well as others familiar with the tensions brewing between President Donald Trump’s aides and HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “You have two teams with two visions,” an individual who’s been in heated meetings with HHS and the White House told Politico. “Alex is outnumbered and keeps losing.”

What Is It About Processed Foods That Makes Them So Hard To Quit? Researchers Look For Answers Beyond ‘They Taste Good’

KHN Morning Briefing

Processed foods have been a target of nutritionists who partly blame the obesity epidemic on them. But until researchers know what it is so many people like about cheese puffs and ice cream, getting them to stop eating them will be difficult. The latest public health news is on diversity in medicine, Ebola, mental health, a big drug recall, screen time, pregnant prisoners, antibiotics and more.

Drugmakers Launch Legal Challenge To Trump Administration Rule On Putting Prices In TV Ads

KHN Morning Briefing

The companies that are suing the administration say that the requirements are unconstitutional and may also dissuade patients from seeking out needed medication. In making the rules, HHS says that if drugmakers are forced to show just how much they’re charging for the treatments, they may feel compelled to lower the costs.

Despite Targeted Raids And Take Downs, Opioid Market Continues To Thrive On The Dark Web

KHN Morning Briefing

The fight against online drug sales often resembles the war on drugs in the physical world: There are raids. Sites are taken down. A few people are arrested. And after a while the trade and markets pop back up somewhere else. In other news on the epidemic: two teen brothers’ fatal overdoses, looking to Europe for ways to handle the crisis, expanded treatment for Medicaid patients, and more.

Sanders, Cummings Urge Department Of Justice To Launch Criminal Investigation Into Generic Drugmakers’ Prices

KHN Morning Briefing

Rep. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said they are concerned about allegations that 20 major drug manufacturers conspired to artificially inflate and manipulate the prices of more than 100 generic drugs, with the companies making billions in the process. In other pharmaceutical and biotech news: how a photocopier mistake caused a major headache; an investigation into a biohacker; a questionable sickle cell disease drug heads to the FDA; and more.

Drugmaker Accuses FDA Of ‘Arbitrarily And Capriciously’ Approving A Rival’s Treatment That’s Priced Significantly Lower

KHN Morning Briefing

There’s been an unusual and heated war being waged between Catalyst Pharmaceuticals and small, family-run Jacobus Pharmaceutical over their rare drug. The battle is being closely watched to see if incentives for developing such drugs may be jeopardized. Other pharmaceutical news focuses on GSK’s investment in CRISPR, privacy and drug importation.

Powerful House Subcommittee’s Probe Into Juul’s Marketing Practices Comes On Heels Of Senate Investigation

KHN Morning Briefing

Juul now faces additional congressional scrutiny over allegations that it markets its e-cigarette products to young people. “The safety and well-being of America’s youth is not for sale,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy. Meanwhile, a bill to ban the use of e-cigarettes in schools across the country will be unveiled on Thursday.