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During a government shutdown, agencies that don’t have federal funding can only do work that’s necessary to protect lives or property. Experts suggest that even if the FDA’s reserves run dry, the agency can continue to review drugs because certain medical treatments are necessary to people’s health. In other shutdown news: food insecurity, wildfires, and a possible light at the end of the tunnel.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has made it clear the issue is one of his top priorities, and lawmakers are reintroducing previously vetoed bills because of that.
The proposal would allow insurers to only credit the cost of a generic drug — if one exists — toward the annual limit for cost-sharing. So if a consumer filled a prescription with a $25 brandname drug, but there was a generic on the market that cost $5, the consumer might get credit for only $5 in out-of-pocket spending.
There’s been a flurry of movement and discussions this week about the issue, which many say will be one of the few bipartisan issues that the divided Congress can tackle in the next two years.
Gov. Gavin Newson’s plan involves allowing for negotiations with Medi-Cal, but experts say California might not wield enough leverage to make a difference.
The inspections, which have been halted because of the government shutdown, will focus on risky items like cheeses, produce and infant formula. The FDA oversees about 80 percent of the nation’s food supply. Meanwhile, the shutdown could derail the timetable for some highly anticipated drugs.
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.
Drug pricing is a hot topic that voters care deeply about, and many of the 2020 Democratic hopefuls want to get ahead of their competitors with splashy bills taking on the pharmaceutical industry. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is just the latest to announce legislation that would tackle the high prices, which would include a measure pegging U.S. prescription drug prices to the median price from five countries where drug costs are typically far lower.
“If we don’t do this as an industry, I think there will be other alternatives that will be more onerous for us,” Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in California. Drug pricing was just one of the many topics that were being hotly discussed at the annual event that draws the movers-and-shakers in the industry.
The J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, held in San Francisco, is a four-day conference that helps shape the agenda for both the health industry and individual companies for the year.