From The New York Times

Trump’s Assault on Obamacare Could Undermine His Own Health Initiatives

July 11, 2019

In court, the Trump administration is trying to get all of Obamacare erased. But at the White House, President Trump and his health officials are busily using the law to pursue key proposals.

Last week, the president highlighted a policy in the works meant to narrow the gaps between what drugs cost in the United States and overseas. On Wednesday, he signed an executive order to transform care for patients with kidney disease.

In court, the Trump administration is trying to get all of Obamacare erased. But at the White House, President Trump and his health officials are busily using the law to pursue key proposals.

Last week, the president highlighted a policy in the works meant to narrow the gaps between what drugs cost in the United States and overseas. On Wednesday, he signed an executive order to transform care for patients with kidney disease.

Both measures were made possible by a provision in the Affordable Care Act, and both would be effectively gutted if the administration’s position prevailed in court.

In between, administration lawyers told a receptive panel of judges in New Orleans that the entire Affordable Care Act should be overturned….

Read the full The New York Times article

Botox Maker Allergan Is Sold to AbbVie in $63 Billion Deal

June 25, 2019

The drugmaker AbbVie said on Tuesday that it planned to buy Allergan, the maker of Botox, for about $63 billion, in one of the biggest mergers in the health care industry this year.

The deal represents a classic response to a perennial drug industry challenge: how to recover when a blockbuster drug is losing its patent protection. In acquiring Allergan, AbbVie gets to bypass the risky process of research and development by buying a portfolio of popular products as it faces the loss of patent protection for Humira, a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis that is the world’s top-selling drug.

The drugmaker AbbVie said on Tuesday that it planned to buy Allergan, the maker of Botox, for about $63 billion, in one of the biggest mergers in the health care industry this year.

The deal represents a classic response to a perennial drug industry challenge: how to recover when a blockbuster drug is losing its patent protection. In acquiring Allergan, AbbVie gets to bypass the risky process of research and development by buying a portfolio of popular products as it faces the loss of patent protection for Humira, a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis that is the world’s top-selling drug.

“This is the age of blockbusters,” said David Maris, an analyst for Wells Fargo who follows the drug industry. “And when blockbusters start to go away, companies don’t have too many things they can do….”

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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….

Read the full The New York Times article