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Prescription Drugs Regs and Dollars

  • Trump Just Dropped a Big Hint to the Pharmaceutical Industry The Washington Post by Carolyn Y. Johnson—A single sentence in President-elect Donald Trump's health care platform sends a strong hint to the drug and medical device industry that they may have an easier time getting their products on the market under his administration. “Reform the Food and Drug Administration, to put greater focus on the need of patients for new and innovative medical products,” his health plan states.  ...“The language … is industry code for deregulation and reducing of safety standards,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a consumer watchdog. “Of course, the general deregulatory rhetoric from candidate Trump is a worry for us, but as applied to FDA, it would be very troubling.”

  • High-Dollar Prescribers Proliferate in Medicare’s Drug Program ProPublica by Charles Ornstein and Ryann Grochowski Jones—The number of doctors who each prescribe millions of dollars of medications annually in Medicare’s drug program has soared, driven by expensive hepatitis C treatments and rising drug prices overall, federal data obtained by ProPublica shows. The number of providers who topped the $5 million mark for prescriptions increased more than tenfold, from 41 in 2011 to 514 in 2015. The number of prescribers—mostly physicians but also nurse practitioners—exceeding $10 million in drug costs jumped from two to 70 over the same time period, according to the data.

  • Drug Prices Don’t Budge Even After Pressure from Congress AP by Matthew Perrone—Congress's routine of publicly shaming drug company executives over high prices works no better than a placebo: It may make some people feel better, but it doesn't treat the problem.  In the last two years, House and Senate committees issued more than a dozen subpoenas to price-hiking drugmakers, collecting hundreds of thousands of documents and berating executives for more than 16 hours of public hearings. But a review by The Associated Press of the list prices of nearly 30 brand-name medications and generic versions targeted by congressional investigators shows most haven't budged since coming under federal scrutiny, according to figures from Truven Health Analytics. "These companies have made clear that they are not going to change course on their own—they will keep bilking the American people for all they can unless Congress acts," said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, the ranking member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.


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