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As a negotiation tool, Medicare Advantage plans will now be able to require patients getting drugs in a doctor’s office or the hospital to try lower-cost medicines before moving up to more expensive ones in a process called step therapy. Insurers already had this option in Part D drug plans — which cover prescriptions such as those purchased by beneficiaries at pharmacies. But the option is now being expanded.
Currently, just three drugs exist to treat opioid use disorder: buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. Adherence to the drugs is typically low, and addiction treatment experts have long said medication assisted treatment is vastly underutilized.
The ruling essentially tightens the rules for what kind of testimony could be used against pharmaceutical companies being sued over allegations that their medications harm patients.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee wants Purdue Pharma, Mallinckrodt, and Insys Therapeutics to provide documents about their relationships with doctors and sales reps, among other things. Meanwhile, singer Demi Lovato speaks out about her addiction after being hospitalized for an overdose.
There has been a lot of fine print in all the price cutting talk from the pharmaceutical industry in recent weeks. For example, most targeted old products that no longer produce much revenue.
The agency entrusted enforcement of the drugs to the companies that were making them, documents show. “People were getting hurt — and the FDA sat by and watched this happen,” Dr. Andrew Kolodny, an opioid policy researcher at Brandeis University, tells The New York Times. Meanwhile, under pressure, another pharmaceutical wholesaler agrees to boost oversight of its opioid distribution.
Medicare currently isn’t allowed to negotiate drug prices, but analysts looked at agencies that can — like the Department of Veterans Affairs — and crunched some numbers. As drug prices continue to rise, officials scramble to find ways to curb the cost hikes. Meanwhile, Medicare beneficiaries will pay lower premiums on their prescription drug plans next year.
While two-thirds of the voters support the proposal, the Mormon Church leaders joined a group of doctors to say the initiative “would compromise the health and safety of Utah communities.” News on marijuana comes from Washington, D.C. and Florida, also.
“There was this leap to opioids, either in perception of patient expectations or to meet patient expectations,” said a leader of the study, Kit Delgado of the University of Pennsylvania.
For some, the trial cemented the idea of a link between brain plaques and mental fortitude. But for others, there were enough confusing details in the study to undercut any findings.
The drug rebate is similar to any other rebate on a product you’re buying — but instead of you getting to keep the money, it’s the insurer or employers who usually reap the benefit. There’s been a lot of movement lately, both from the pharma industry and the White House to eliminate the system. Meanwhile, Democrats are eyeing an unusual ally in their fight to let Medicare negotiate drug prices.
But the company is on the look-out for its next blockbuster as Revlimid will face market competition in coming years. Meanwhile, advocate groups ask for insurance commissioners will investigate the growing use of copay accumulators.
Part of the problem with letting Medicare negotiate drug prices has always been that the government has no power in the talks. But the bill would let HHS give a competitive license to another company to make a generic version of the drug. Few see the measure gaining traction at the moment, though. Lawmakers also advanced legislation that would eliminate pharmacist “gag clauses.”
The drug showed success with patients who had the highest dosage for over 18 months, but there will need to be more studies before experts get really excited. “I don’t know that we’ve hit a home run yet. It’s important not to over-conclude on the data. But as a proof of concept, I feel like this is very encouraging,” said Dr. Reisa Sperling, director of the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
News outlets report on stories related to pharmaceutical pricing.
The practice involves a third party — often a treatment center that may not meet adequate care standards — paying a recruiter to fraudulently enroll an addicted patient in a flexible individual market plan offering out-of-state coverage. In other news, pop singer Demi Lovato, who has been an outspoken advocate about mental health and substance use problems, was hospitalized after a reported overdose.
The technology was touted as a step forward in including AI into the medical field to get patients better results. But documents show the computer’s recommendations were flawed, and IBM executives knew about it.
Finding the right patients, in the right age group, with just the right amount of memory loss is an overwhelming task for pharmaceutical companies running drug trials. In other news, a study suggests that hormones might play a role in the disease, which could offer insight into why so many more women than men are afflicted.
Steve Miller, 76, will join the company as chairman of the board. Navigating the more than 800 opioid lawsuits against the company will be among the most immediate tasks facing the new chairman.