From The New York Times

Major Insurers Pledge $55 Million to Try to Lower Generic Drug Prices

January 23, 2020

A major group of insurers said it would invest $55 million to create cheaper versions of expensive generic drugs for which there is little competition, in a further sign of dissatisfaction with the pharmaceutical industry’s price-setting practices.

The decision by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and 18 of its member organizations, which insure about 40 million people, is part of a partnership agreement with Civica Rx, a nonprofit that is already selling drugs used in hospitals to health systems around the country.

A major group of insurers said it would invest $55 million to create cheaper versions of expensive generic drugs for which there is little competition, in a further sign of dissatisfaction with the pharmaceutical industry’s price-setting practices.

The decision by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and 18 of its member organizations, which insure about 40 million people, is part of a partnership agreement with Civica Rx, a nonprofit that is already selling drugs used in hospitals to health systems around the country.

Frustrated with high drug prices, especially on essential medicines like insulin, state and federal lawmakers have signaled interest in manufacturing generic medications to try to lower costs for millions of Americans. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California recently floated a similar proposal, in which the state would contract with outside manufacturers to sell generic drugs under the state’s own label. And Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat seeking her party’s presidential nomination, has advanced a similar proposal….

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Supreme Court May Back Insurers in $12 Billion Obamacare Case

December 10, 2019

The Supreme Court seemed inclined on Tuesday to require the federal government to live up to its promise to shield insurance companies from some of the risks they took in participating in the exchanges established by President Barack Obama’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act.

Paul D. Clement, a lawyer for the insurance companies, said his clients had been the victims of “a massive government bait-and-switch.”

The Supreme Court seemed inclined on Tuesday to require the federal government to live up to its promise to shield insurance companies from some of the risks they took in participating in the exchanges established by President Barack Obama’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act.

Paul D. Clement, a lawyer for the insurance companies, said his clients had been the victims of “a massive government bait-and-switch.”

But Edwin S. Kneedler, a lawyer for the federal government, said a statutory promise to cover the companies’ losses was ineffective without a separate congressional appropriation of money. “The appropriations clause of the Constitution is central to this case,” he said, referring to a provision that says, “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law….”

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Hospitals Sue Trump to Keep Negotiated Prices Secret

December 5, 2019

The nation’s hospital groups sued the Trump administration on Wednesday over a new federal rule that would require them to disclose the discounted prices they give insurers for all sorts of procedures.

The hospitals, including the American Hospital Association, argued in a lawsuit filed in United States District Court in Washington that the new rule “is unlawful, several times over.”

The nation’s hospital groups sued the Trump administration on Wednesday over a new federal rule that would require them to disclose the discounted prices they give insurers for all sorts of procedures.

The hospitals, including the American Hospital Association, argued in a lawsuit filed in United States District Court in Washington that the new rule “is unlawful, several times over.”

They argued that the administration exceeded its legal authority in issuing the rule last month as part of its efforts to make the health care system much more transparent to patients. The lawsuit contends the requirement to disclose their private negotiations with insurers violates their First Amendment rights….

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Trump Administration Sues Gilead, Maker of H.I.V.-Prevention Drugs

November 7, 2019

The Trump administration on Wednesday sued Gilead Sciences, a pharmaceutical company that sells H.I.V.-prevention drugs that can cost patients up to $20,000 a year, accusing the company of earning billions from research funded by taxpayers without paying taxpayers back.

The government said the company infringed upon patents owned by the Department of Health and Human Services, and had refused attempts by the department to license its patents and collect royalties. The company sells two drugs, Truvada and Descovy, that can be taken once daily to prevent H.I.V. infection, a strategy called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

The Trump administration on Wednesday sued Gilead Sciences, a pharmaceutical company that sells H.I.V.-prevention drugs that can cost patients up to $20,000 a year, accusing the company of earning billions from research funded by taxpayers without paying taxpayers back.

The government said the company infringed upon patents owned by the Department of Health and Human Services, and had refused attempts by the department to license its patents and collect royalties. The company sells two drugs, Truvada and Descovy, that can be taken once daily to prevent H.I.V. infection, a strategy called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

Wider access to PrEP is central to the government’s goal, announced in February, to reduce new H.I.V. infections by 75 percent over five years, and to “end the H.I.V. epidemic in America” by 2030. Critics have said the drug’s lofty price tag has limited its accessibility to high-risk people with low incomes, thwarting the government’s efforts….

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U.S. Blames Drug Shortages on Low Prices and a ‘Broken Marketplace’

October 29, 2019

Chronic drug shortages that threaten patient care are caused by rock-bottom prices for older generic medicines and a health care marketplace that doesn’t run on the rules of supply and demand, among other factors, according to a federal report published on Tuesday.

The report, the work of a task force led by the Food and Drug Administration and comprising representatives from various federal agencies, recommended that buyers like hospitals consider paying higher prices for older generic drugs.

Chronic drug shortages that threaten patient care are caused by rock-bottom prices for older generic medicines and a health care marketplace that doesn’t run on the rules of supply and demand, among other factors, according to a federal report published on Tuesday.

The report, the work of a task force led by the Food and Drug Administration and comprising representatives from various federal agencies, recommended that buyers like hospitals consider paying higher prices for older generic drugs.

Paying more would encourage drug companies to prioritize drugs like vincristine, a critical cancer medicine for children that now sells for just $8 a vial. To the consternation of cancer specialists, supplies of the drug recently have been scarce….

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