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Prescription Drugs

  • State Solutions to Bring Down Drug Prices Face Steep Resistance from Drug Industry  FierceHealthcare by Paige Minemyer — There are plenty of ways to tackle rising drug prices, experts say—if they aren't blocked by industry first. Even as states increasingly take legislative action on drug prices, they have been blocked by pharmaceutical companies in court, said Jane Horvath, senior policy fellow at the National Academy for State Health Policy, at a forum hosted in Washington, D.C., by Kaiser Permanente's Institute for Health Policy. "There's a whole constellation of problems or hurdles to be overcome, which is why state policy around drug prices is looking insane and just crazy," Horvath said. Drug prices have been a central issue for health agencies under the Trump administration, with both President Donald Trump and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar putting a focus on the problem. The White House has laid out a plan to reduce drug costs, but experts are skeptical that it will be effective in light of the potential legal hurdles.

  • Drug Companies Get Tax Windfall, but They're Not Reducing Prescription Prices  USA Today by Andy Slavitt, Opinion columnist — Drug prices are a top pocketbook issue for Americans. President Trump understood that and campaigned on promises to bring down the cost of prescriptions. You’d think the massive tax cut he signed into law in December would be the perfect opportunity for drug companies to take some of their windfall and bring down those prices. But a new analysis shows that so far, you'd be wrong. A study, based on 4th quarter earnings calls, press releases and public statements, shows that in its early days, the new tax law has been almost entirely a boon to shareholders. Five drug companies alone have announced $45 billion in stock buybacks — accounting for 21 percent of the largest stock buybacks announced this year. 

  • CVS to Compare Drug Prices at the Pharmacy Counter  Forbes by Bruce Japsen — CVS Health will introduce a new effort to help customers compare drug prices for more transparency at its pharmacy counters, ratcheting up pressure on the pharmaceutical industry and drug costs. Pharmacists have long advised patients on whether a drug is covered by insurance or whether a cheaper generic is available. But CVS admits a more robust effort is needed by its drugstores and pharmacy benefit business at a time an increasing number of patients are paying more out of their pockets for drugs as high deductible plans have proliferated. CVS said Wednesday its new "CVS Pharmacy Rx Savings Finder" allows for a more seamless process, reviewing the patient's "prescription regimen, medication history and insurance plan information."

  • Drug Company 'Shenanigans' to Block Generics Come Under Federal Scrutiny New York Times by Robert Pear - Trump administration officials, seeking ways to lower drug costs, are targeting pharmaceutical companies that refuse to provide samples of their products to generic drug companies, making it impossible to create inexpensive generic copies of a brand-name medicine. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said recently that drugmakers must "end the shenanigans" that prevent competing products from reaching the market. Federal officials said they were focusing on the anticompetitive practices of brand-name drug makers under the impetus of a vow by President Trump to hold down prices set by drug companies, which he has said are "getting away with murder." The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the legislation would save the federal government $3.8 billion over 10 years, mainly because Medicare, Medicaid, and other health programs would spend less on prescription drugs. Savings for consumers and private health insurance plans could be much greater.

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