Trump calls for federal lawsuit against opioid manufacturers | Trump administration looks to cut production of most-abused opioids | Physicians group adds 5 tests, procedures to Choosing Wisely list
August 17, 2018
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Trump calls for federal lawsuit against opioid manufacturers
President Donald Trump urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to file a lawsuit against certain manufacturers of opioid painkillers and to take action against foreign companies, particularly in China. Trump didn't specify which companies he wants to sue, but a number of states have already filed cases against opioid makers such as Purdue Pharma, alleging they contributed to the opioid abuse crisis.
The Hill (8/16),  CNN (8/16) 
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Trump administration looks to cut production of most-abused opioids
The Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration want to cut next year's production quotas for six of the most commonly abused opioid drugs by an average of 10%. The agencies said the proposal would support the administration's goal to reduce opioid prescribing by one-third in three years, and it "marks the third straight year of proposed reductions, which help reduce the amount of drugs potentially diverted for trafficking and used to facilitate addiction."
Axios (8/16),  Reuters (8/17) 
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Providers & Suppliers
Physicians group adds 5 tests, procedures to Choosing Wisely list
The American Academy of Family Physicians added five recommendations to its Choosing Wisely campaign list, covering pelvic exams, home glucose monitoring, genital herpes screening, testicular cancer screening and blood transfusion. The Choosing Wisely list includes procedures, treatments and tests that might be medically unnecessary.
AAFP News (8/15) 
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Federal Policy and Medicare’s Economic Impact
The first in a series of white papers that will explore the health system, the role of providers, and patient care. Learn about opportunities for differentiation and financial success in a healthcare environment facing looming crises. Access the white paper.
Medical Update
CDC midyear report: 107 measles cases seen in 21 states, D.C.
A CDC report showed 21 states and Washington, D.C., had 107 confirmed cases of measles from Jan. 1 through July 14 and most of the patients had not received vaccination. In all of last year, 118 cases were reported.
CNN (8/16) 
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Retinal thinning may be early sign of Parkinson's
South Korean researchers who used optical coherence tomography found that drug-naive individuals who have early Parkinson's disease had retinal thinning, which was associated with nigral dopaminergic loss and disease severity. Confirmation of the findings, which were published in Neurology, may prompt the use of retinal scans not only to provide earlier Parkinson's treatment but also to improve monitoring of therapies that may delay disease progression, researcher Dr. Jee-Young Lee said.
MedPage Today (free registration) (8/15) 
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High-carb, low-carb diets linked to similar increase in mortality risk
High-carb, low-carb diets linked to similar increase in mortality risk
A meta-analysis that included more than 400,000 participants found that mortality risk was elevated for people who followed high-carbohydrate diets and those who followed low-carb diets, according to a report in The Lancet Public Health. Diets that provide 50% to 55% of total energy from carbohydrates were associated with lower mortality risk, with substitution of plant-based proteins for carbs further reducing mortality risk.
MedPage Today (free registration) (8/16) 
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Emerging Trends
Using analytics to incentivize value-based health care
Value-based care encourages medical professionals to prioritize outcomes and efficiency with preventative health care, but the strategy can be difficult to incentivize for health professionals. Analytics could help solve this problem by collecting patient data, indicating where there are gaps in the patient's care and creating priority and outreach lists, says Jennifer Carney of Beth Israel Deacons Care Organization.
InformationWeek (8/16) 
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Report cites Calif., Mass. as leaders in cancer care
A report from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network finds that cancer care in California and Massachusetts is the best in the nation, with policies promoting cancer prevention, palliative care, pain management and expanded access to health care. Chris Hansen, CAN president, said establishing and enforcing policies outlined in the report will help stakeholders meet the needs of cancer patients, save lives and reduce long-term health care costs.
Medscape (free registration) (8/14) 
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Health Insurance Provider Company News
Solutions Provider News
Pharma News
FDA OKs Teva's generic EpiPen
The FDA approved Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' generic version of Mylan's widely prescribed EpiPen allergy auto-injector for use in children and adults weighing more than 33 pounds. The drug, which is the first generic version of EpiPen, delivers epinephrine and is approved in 0.3 mg or 0.15 mg doses.
Healio (free registration) (8/16),  CNBC (8/16) 
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Big Pharma, biotech partner in search for a better flu vaccine
Pfizer's deal with BioNTech follows a string of drugmaker-biotech partnerships involving AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly and Co. and Sanofi using genetic approaches to develop a better flu vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said a better vaccine is urgently needed, and Oregon-based Grace Bio-Labs has been awarded a federal contract to develop a screening tool to speed development of a universal flu vaccine.
Reuters (8/16),  The Bulletin (Bend, Ore.) (8/15) 
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Policy Watch
CMS approves N.J. reinsurance program
The CMS has approved New Jersey's request to create a reinsurance program, which the state expects will lower Affordable Care Act insurance premiums by as much as 15% next year. The program, which will draw funding partly from enforcement of a state penalty for residents who do not enroll in health coverage, will help insurers shoulder costs for the sickest patients.
The Hill (8/16) 
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More states hope to launch reinsurance programs to cut ACA premiums
More states plan to follow the footsteps of Alaska and Minnesota and launch their own reinsurance programs next year to lower premiums in their individual markets. The programs, supported by federal dollars, have lowered the cost of health insurance, although industry analysts say the program is not a cure-all and does not address the underlying issue of rising medical costs.
Kaiser Health News (8/15) 
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