From Stat

Senate Committee Unveils Ambitious Plan to Cap Drug Price Hikes, Out-of-Pocket Expenses

July 23, 2019

A key Senate committee on Tuesday unveiled a long-awaited package of drug pricing reforms that would cap how much drug makers can hike their prices in Medicare. It would also cap out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare beneficiaries and dramatically reform the program’s prescription drug benefit.

The bipartisan effort, spearheaded by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), is projected to save the federal government $85 billion on drug spending over the next decade.

A key Senate committee on Tuesday unveiled a long-awaited package of drug pricing reforms that would cap how much drug makers can hike their prices in Medicare. It would also cap out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare beneficiaries and dramatically reform the program’s prescription drug benefit.

The bipartisan effort, spearheaded by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), is projected to save the federal government $85 billion on drug spending over the next decade.

“This legislation shows that no industry is above accountability,” Wyden and Grassley wrote in a joint statement. “Passing these reforms, especially those that will affect some of the most entrenched interests in Washington, is never easy….”

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How Pharma, Under Attack From All Sides, Keeps Winning in Washington

July 16, 2019

It does not seem to matter how angrily President Trump tweets, how pointedly House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lobs a critique, or how shrewdly health secretary Alex Azar drafts a regulatory change.

The pharmaceutical industry is still winning in Washington.

It does not seem to matter how angrily President Trump tweets, how pointedly House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lobs a critique, or how shrewdly health secretary Alex Azar drafts a regulatory change.

The pharmaceutical industry is still winning in Washington.

In the past month alone, drug makers and the army of lobbyists they employ pressured a Republican senator not to push forward a bill that would have limited some of their intellectual property rights, according to lobbyists and industry representatives. They managed to water down another before it was added to a legislative package aimed at lowering health care costs. Lobbyists also convinced yet another GOP lawmaker — once bombastically opposed to the industry’s patent tactics — to publicly commit to softening his own legislation on the topic, as STAT reported last month….

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Trump Abandons Drug Pricing Proposal That Would Have Ended Certain Drug Rebates

July 11, 2019

The Trump administration on Wednesday abandoned one of its signature drug-pricing efforts: a ban on many of the rebates that drug companies pay to pharmacy benefit managers under Medicare.

A White House spokesman confirmed the news to STAT after it was first reported by Axios.

“Based on careful analysis and thorough consideration, the President has decided to withdraw the rebate rule,” spokesman Judd Deere said.

The Trump administration on Wednesday abandoned one of its signature drug-pricing efforts: a ban on many of the rebates that drug companies pay to pharmacy benefit managers under Medicare.

A White House spokesman confirmed the news to STAT after it was first reported by Axios.

“Based on careful analysis and thorough consideration, the President has decided to withdraw the rebate rule,” spokesman Judd Deere said.

While the White House had argued eliminating rebates would result in drug manufacturers charging lower list prices, the proposal has been controversial since its unveiling in January. Drug manufacturers had largely supported it, while middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers and insurers were vocally opposed….

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Health Tech Companies Often Flop, but Is There a Strategy for Success?

July 3, 2019

A series of glass cabinets lines the back wall of this Stanford building, the shelves crowded with health technologies dreamed up here. There’s a bottle of thick blue gel that helps drugs stick inside the colon, a heartbeat-tracking patch, an under-the-sheets sensor that buzzes to prevent night terrors, and a baby doll with a dozen redesigned versions of an umbilical catheter lying next to its blanket.

“My favorite thing is just looking at some of the technologies that have come out,” said Dr. Paul Yock, pointing to a low-cost substitute for the pricey ventilators found in the intensive care unit.

A series of glass cabinets lines the back wall of this Stanford building, the shelves crowded with health technologies dreamed up here. There’s a bottle of thick blue gel that helps drugs stick inside the colon, a heartbeat-tracking patch, an under-the-sheets sensor that buzzes to prevent night terrors, and a baby doll with a dozen redesigned versions of an umbilical catheter lying next to its blanket.

“My favorite thing is just looking at some of the technologies that have come out,” said Dr. Paul Yock, pointing to a low-cost substitute for the pricey ventilators found in the intensive care unit.

The shelves are a hall of fame of sorts for Yock, a cardiologist and bioengineer who runs Stanford’s Byers Center for Biodesign. The health technology hub is home to a fellowship program that gives physicians and engineers 10 months to pinpoint an unmet medical need, brainstorm a new tool to tackle it, and develop a business plan that might actually work. Since the center was founded in 2001, Yock has mentored more than 161 fellows who have gone on to found 50 companies. Stanford was the first to found such a program, but a slew of universities have followed suit and founded their own biodesign centers….

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Five People Behind Facebook’s Push Into Health Care

May 29, 2019

When it comes to building out a health business, Facebook is often seen as having much more modest ambitions than its Big Tech competitors. If that was ever true, it’s looking less so now — even as the company faces a backlash over revelations about its use of customers’ personal information….

When it comes to building out a health business, Facebook is often seen as having much more modest ambitions than its Big Tech competitors. If that was ever true, it’s looking less so now — even as the company faces a backlash over revelations about its use of customers’ personal information….

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