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Prescription Drugs

  • Climbing Cost of Decades-Old Drugs Threatens to Break Medicaid Bank Kaiser Health News by Sydney Lupkin — Skyrocketing price tags for new drugs to treat rare diseases have stoked outrage nationwide. But hundreds of old, commonly used drugs cost the Medicaid program billions of extra dollars in 2016 vs. 2015, a Kaiser Health News data analysis shows. Eighty of the drugs — some generic and some still carrying brand names — proved more than two decades old. Rising costs for 313 brand-name drugs lifted Medicaid's spending by as much as $3.2 billion in 2016, the analysis shows. Nine of these brand-name drugs have been on the market since before 1970. In addition, the data reveal that Medicaid outlays for 67 generics and other non-branded drugs cost taxpayers an extra $258 million last year.

  • Express Scripts to Limit Opioids; Doctors Concerned Associated Press by Jim Salter — The nation's largest pharmacy benefit manager will soon limit the number and strength of opioid drugs prescribed to first-time users as part of a wide-ranging effort to curb an epidemic affecting millions of Americans. But the new program from Express Scripts is drawing criticism from the American Medical Association, the largest association of physicians and medical students in the U.S., which believes treatment plans should be left to doctors and their patients. About 12.5 million Americans misused prescription opioids in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. More than 33,000 deaths that year were blamed on opioid overdoses.

  • Trump Tweets Up a Storm on Drug Prices but Delivers Little Change Politico by Sarah Karlin-Smith — President Donald Trump's condemnation on Twitter Monday of Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier for what he called "RIPOFF DRUG PRICES" was just his latest rebuke of the drug industry for its soaring prices. But six months into his administration, the president's rhetoric bears little resemblance to his record. But the White House has invested little political capital in the issue, appointing industry insiders to key posts while abandoning key campaign pledges to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and import cheaper medicines from overseas. "His rhetoric is full of fire and fury, but so far the White House has not taken any real action to lower drug prices," said David Mitchell, president of Patients for Affordable Drugs, which is pushing for policies at the state and federal level to lower drug prices.

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