This Patent Lawyer May Be Most Powerful Man In Washington When It Comes To Curbing Drug Costs
Newly installed Patent and Trademark Office Director Andrei Iancu holds substantial sway over an intellectual property system that, critics say, has allowed drug makers to extend their monopolies through legal but questionable tactics.
Pharma And The Patent System: Will Trump's Appointee Bring Change?
The newly installed director of the Patent and Trademark Office, the soft-spoken Andrei Iancu, could rein in drug makers in more direct fashion than perhaps any other individual in Washington. Unlike the others, he holds substantial sway over an intellectual property system that, critics say, has allowed drug makers to extend their monopolies through legal but questionable tactics — by making slight modifications to products and then filing for new patents, for example, or by working to curtail quicker challenges to their patent in favor of longer, drawn-out litigation in the courts. (Mershon, 3/1)
In other national health care news —
Under Trump, The Pace Of FDA Regulations Slowed To A Trickle
As the Trump administration settled in last year, the White House insisted on fewer regulations — and the Food and Drug Administration delivered, according to a new analysis. Last year, regulatory actions taken by the agency were only a fraction of the number of actions taken during the Obama administration and in fact dropped to the lowest level of any time in the past 20 years, according to the Health Research Institute at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the consulting firm. (Silverman, 2/28)
GOP Eyes Budget Maneuver To Pay For ObamaCare Funds
Republicans are weighing whether to use a complicated budget maneuver to help pay for additional ObamaCare funding, sources say. The idea being considered by House Republican leaders is controversial because it would help fund key ObamaCare payments, something that many conservatives decry as a "bailout" of the law. Under the possible plan, the Budget Committee would direct the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to take ObamaCare payments known as cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) out of its “baseline” for projecting federal spending. Essentially, the agency would stop assuming that the ObamaCare payments would be made. (Sullivan, 3/1)
The Washington Post:
Transgender Surgeries Are On The Rise, Says First Study Of Its Kind
In the first broad demographic study of trends in gender-affirming surgeries in the United States, researchers found that the number of operations increased fourfold from 2000 to 2014. Some of the significant rise, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Surgery, may be related to an increase in insurance coverage for the procedures. “Early on we recognized there’s been a lot of work on health disparities having to do with age, race and so on that get collected in health-care settings,” said Brandyn Lau, an assistant professor of surgery and health sciences informatics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “One of the things we need to know is whether [lesbian, gay and transgender] patients are getting the same care.” (Nutt, 2/28)
Trump's Abortion Policy Sheds Light On Ad Hoc Decision-Making
The Trump administration’s policy of halting abortions among undocumented minors was established by email through an ad hoc process without formal legal vetting, according to new documents released Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU, which is suing the administration over the policy, made public the December depositions of the director and the deputy director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the HHS office responsible for the care of undocumented minors who enter the country without their parents. (Rayasam, 2/28)