From The New York Times

Teva and Other Generic Drugmakers Inflated Prices Up to 1,000%, State Prosecutors Say

May 11, 2019

Leading drug companies including Teva, Pfizer, Novartis and Mylan conspired to inflate the prices of generic drugs by as much as 1,000 percent, according to a far-reaching lawsuit filed on Friday by 44 states.

The industrywide scheme affected the prices of more than 100 generic drugs, according to the complaint, including lamivudine-zidovudine, which treats H.I.V.; budesonide, an asthma medication; fenofibrate, which treats high cholesterol; amphetamine-dextroamphetamine for A.D.H.D.; oral antibiotics; blood thinners; cancer drugs; contraceptives; and antidepressants.

Leading drug companies including Teva, Pfizer, Novartis and Mylan conspired to inflate the prices of generic drugs by as much as 1,000 percent, according to a far-reaching lawsuit filed on Friday by 44 states.

The industrywide scheme affected the prices of more than 100 generic drugs, according to the complaint, including lamivudine-zidovudine, which treats H.I.V.; budesonide, an asthma medication; fenofibrate, which treats high cholesterol; amphetamine-dextroamphetamine for A.D.H.D.; oral antibiotics; blood thinners; cancer drugs; contraceptives; and antidepressants.

“We all know that prescription drugs can be expensive,” Gurbir S. Grewal, the New Jersey attorney general, said in a statement. “Now we know that high drug prices have been driven in part by an illegal conspiracy among generic drug companies to inflate their prices….”

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Drug Prices Will Soon Appear in Many TV Ads

May 8, 2019

The Trump administration for the first time will require pharmaceutical companies to include the price of prescription drugs in television advertisements if the cost exceeds $35 per month.

The move, announced on Wednesday by Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, is the most visible action the administration has taken so far to address the rising cost of prescription drugs. It has been a key issue for American voters and one that both Republicans and Democrats have vowed to address.

The Trump administration for the first time will require pharmaceutical companies to include the price of prescription drugs in television advertisements if the cost exceeds $35 per month.

The move, announced on Wednesday by Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, is the most visible action the administration has taken so far to address the rising cost of prescription drugs. It has been a key issue for American voters and one that both Republicans and Democrats have vowed to address.

The proposal could be challenged by the drug industry, which argues that revealing the list price will confuse consumers and could violate the companies’ First Amendment rights. While the list price of some drugs can be thousands of dollars a month, patients with insurance that covers their prescriptions frequently pay far less, often less than $50.

“We are moving from a system where people are left in the dark to a system where patients are put in the driver’s seat,” Mr. Azar said in a conference call with reporters….

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‘Medicare for All’ Gets Much-Awaited Report. Both Sides Can Claim Victory

May 1, 2019

The Congressional Budget Office published a much-awaited paper about the possible design of a single-payer or “Medicare for all” system in the United States.

The budget office most often provides detailed estimates about the cost of legislation. But anyone looking for many numbers in Wednesday’s long report would be disappointed.

The Congressional Budget Office published a much-awaited paper about the possible design of a single-payer or “Medicare for all” system in the United States.

The budget office most often provides detailed estimates about the cost of legislation. But anyone looking for many numbers in Wednesday’s long report would be disappointed.

Instead, the nonpartisan office noted the many ways that legislators could devise such a system, outlining the cost and policy effects of a wide range of difficult choices. It also noted that such a system would be so different from the country’s current situation that any hard estimates would be difficult, even with all the specifics laid out.

As such, the report has convenient snippets likely to be deployed by both single-payer devotees and detractors. Within minutes of its release, congressional news releases began pouring out, noting how the report had confirmed this or that position….

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For First Time, Pharmaceutical Distributor Faces Federal Criminal Charges Over Opioid Crisis

April 23, 2019

Law enforcement officials have long tried to stem the opioid crisis in America with criminal charges for street dealers and cartel kingpins who traffic in drugs like fentanyl and oxycodone.

Now, for the first time, federal authorities are bringing the same kind of felony drug-trafficking charges against a major pharmaceutical distributor and two of its former executives for their role in fanning the crisis.

Law enforcement officials have long tried to stem the opioid crisis in America with criminal charges for street dealers and cartel kingpins who traffic in drugs like fentanyl and oxycodone.

Now, for the first time, federal authorities are bringing the same kind of felony drug-trafficking charges against a major pharmaceutical distributor and two of its former executives for their role in fanning the crisis.

Prosecutors said the former executives at the company, Rochester Drug Cooperative, ignored red flags and shipped tens of millions of oxycodone pills and fentanyl products to pharmacies they knew were distributing drugs illegally. Their sales soared, as did the compensation of the chief executive.

“Why did they do it?” asked Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney in Manhattan, who announced the charges at a news conference. “Greed….”

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Employee Wellness Programs Yield Little Benefit, Study Shows

April 16, 2019

Companies have long embraced workplace wellness programs as a way to improve workers’ health and reduce overall medical spending, but a new study may prompt employers to rethink those efforts.

The study, published on Tuesday in JAMA, a medical journal, looked at the experience of 33,000 workers at BJ’s Wholesale Club, a retailer, over a year and a half.

Companies have long embraced workplace wellness programs as a way to improve workers’ health and reduce overall medical spending, but a new study may prompt employers to rethink those efforts.

The study, published on Tuesday in JAMA, a medical journal, looked at the experience of 33,000 workers at BJ’s Wholesale Club, a retailer, over a year and a half.

While workers who enrolled in the wellness program reported that they learned to exercise more and watch their weight, the research found no significant differences in outcomes like lower blood pressure or sugar levels and other health measures. And it found no significant reduction in workers’ health care costs….

Read the full The New York Times article