House Dems Open Investigation Into Pharma’s Drug Pricing Strategies, Calling The Probe One Of The Broadest In Decades
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings sent letters to drugmakers requesting detailed information about their pricing practices, focusing on drugs that are the costliest to Medicare Part D as well as drugs that have had the largest increases over a five-year period. The move is just the latest in a flurry of legislation and congressional action taken on the topic of high drug prices this year.
The Associated Press:
House Dems Announce Sweeping Investigation Of Drug Pricing
House Democrats announced a sweeping investigation Monday of the pharmaceutical industry's pricing practices, jockeying for the upper hand with the Trump administration on an issue that concerns Americans across the political spectrum. Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said he's sent letters to 12 major drugmakers seeking detailed information and documents about pricing practices for brand-name drugs to treat diseases including cancer, diabetes, kidney failure and nerve pain. (1/14)
U.S. Lawmaker Launches Investigation Into Pharma Drug Pricing
AbbVie Inc, Amgen Inc, AstraZeneca PLC, Celgene Corp, Eli Lilly and Co, Johnson & Johnson, Mallinckrodt PLC, Novartis AG, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer Inc, Sanofi and Teva Pharmaceutical all received letters seeking information about their pricing practices. Novo Nordisk, Amgen, Celgene, and Novartis said they were reviewing the request. The other drug companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment. (1/14)
In other national health care news —
Medicare Part D Could Have Saved $14.4B In 2016 By Negotiating As The VA Did
As Congressional lawmakers push to negotiate prices for Medicare Part D, a new analysis finds the federal government could have saved $14.4 billion on the top 50 pills that were covered two years ago if the program obtained the same prices as the Department of Veterans Affairs, which already haggles for discounts. For instance, the VA spent roughly $1.7 billion on the Harvoni hepatitis C treatment sold by Gilead Sciences (GILD) in 2016, compared with $3 billion spent by Part D, which spent more on this particular pill that year than any other oral medicine. (Silverman, 1/14)
The New York Times:
Opioids, Car Crashes And Falling: The Odds Of Dying In The U.S.
The opioid crisis in the United States has become so grim that Americans are now likelier to die of an overdose than in a vehicle crash. That’s according to a new report by the National Safety Council that analyzed the causes of preventable deaths in the country in 2017. The probability of dying from an opioid overdose, according to the report, is one in 96. The chances of dying in a vehicle crash? One in 103. (Mazzei, 1/14)
Anti-Abortion Leaders Are Rebranding As "Pro-Science." Are They?
In recent months, anti-abortion advocates have advocated for the cancellation of a federal research contract for fetal tissue procurement and pushed to halt other research they view as immoral. The results: a $2 million project to test HIV drugs derailed and another pair of studies, including one to develop cancer immunotherapies, left in limbo. The movement’s latest objective: to force President Trump to fire the renowned director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, the country’s top biomedical research scientist. (Facher and Thielking, 1/15)
Rand Paul Headed To Canada For Surgery, But Will Pay Out Of Pocket
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is going to Canada for surgery — but don't accuse the staunch opponent of all things socialist of seeking public health care. He'll be paying for his care in full. "This is a private, world-renowned hospital separate from any system and people come from around the world to pay cash for their services,” a spokesperson told POLITICO. While the U.S. and Canada are often portrayed as having opposing health systems — one private, one public, the reality is more nuanced. Canada also offers some for-profit services, while the U.S. has federal health insurance programs. (Panetta, 1/14)