PBMs working to reduce prescription drug costs for consumers | HHS opens investigation into opioid makers' REMS compliance | Agency officials rush to prepare opioid emergency declaration
October 20, 2017
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PBMs working to reduce prescription drug costs for consumers
Patients and payers in South Carolina will save $10.3 billion over 10 years thanks to pharmacy benefit managers, writes Edmund Pezalla, a scholar-in-residence at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy.
S.C. Statehouse Report (Charleston, S.C.) (10/19) 
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Legislative & Regulatory News
HHS opens investigation into opioid makers' REMS compliance
The HHS Office of Inspector General is investigating the FDA's enforcement of the risk evaluation and mitigation strategy program as it relates to opioid drugs.
InsideHealthPolicy (subscription required) (10/19) 
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Agency officials rush to prepare opioid emergency declaration
Trump administration officials are struggling to develop an emergency declaration on the nation's opioid abuse crisis after the president said he would make the declaration next week. Administration officials say agencies were not prepared for President Donald Trump's statement and there is no consensus how the emergency declaration should be implemented.
Politico (2/9) 
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Trump to nominate antitrust lawyer Simons to lead FTC
President Donald Trump's nominee to serve as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission will be Joseph Simons, an antitrust lawyer with Washington law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, the White House said. Simons worked in the FTC's Bureau of Competition from 2001 to 2003.
Reuters (10/18) 
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More senators support bipartisan deal to stabilize insurance markets
Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., announced Thursday that 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats signed on to co-sponsor their bipartisan deal aimed at stabilizing the Affordable Care Act markets. Alexander expects the proposal to "become law in some fashion before the end of the year," despite a lack of commitment by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to bring it to the Senate floor for a vote.
CNBC/Reuters (10/19),  The Hill (10/19) 
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Drug Industry Spotlight
Imprimis to offer compounded version of Restasis
Imprimis Pharmaceuticals will market a customizable topical formulation of cyclosporine, the active ingredient in Allergan's Restasis dry-eye drug, for $0.99 for the first month's supply with refills priced at least $79 a month.
Reuters (10/19) 
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Sales of Rituxan slide as biosimilars gain ground in Europe
Roche Holding's Rituxan, Herceptin and Avastin face competition from biosimilars and newer treatments, with revenue for Rituxan falling 16% in Europe last quarter on top of a 3% decline the previous quarter.
Bloomberg (free registration) (10/19) 
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Celgene discontinues late-stage study of Crohn's disease drug
A Phase III trial of mongersen, or GED-0301, for the treatment of Crohn's disease was suspended by Celgene after an independent committee conducted an interim futility analysis and benefit-risk assessment of the drug. Celgene said it will decide what is next for the drug candidate after data from a midstage trial evaluating it for an ulcerative colitis indication is available.
BioCentury (10/19),  STAT (tiered subscription model) (10/19) 
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I like work; it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.
Jerome K. Jerome,
writer and humorist
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About PCMA
PCMA is the national association representing America's pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which administer prescription drug plans for more than 266 million Americans with health coverage provided through Fortune 500 employers, health insurance plans, labor unions, and Medicare Part D. PCMA is dedicated to enhancing the proven tools and techniques pioneered by PBMs that generate savings and access for consumers and payors.

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