PCMA warns against Medicare Part D changes in administration's budget proposal | PBMs reduce Rx drug costs for patients, taxpayers | How does drug pricing work?
February 12, 2018
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PCMA warns against Medicare Part D changes in administration's budget proposal
The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association said that changing the Medicare Part D program "would raise premiums for all seniors, help only 10 percent who take certain drugs, and do nothing to improve things for low-income seniors, who already pay no cost sharing in Part D." PCMA President Mark Merritt added, "You don't want to destabilize the program or inadvertently make things worse."
The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (2/9),  The Pink Sheet (subscription required) (2/11),  Bloomberg Government (subscription required) (2/9),  CQ (subscription required) (2/10) 
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PBMs reduce Rx drug costs for patients, taxpayers
Pharmacy benefit managers use formulary management to reduce overall drug spending, and they negotiate rebates and discounts from drugmakers and pharmacies on behalf of employers and public programs, writes Edmund Pezalla, a scholar-in-residence at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. "These formularies often organize medications according to their therapeutic effects and create logical sequences for their use based on clinical effectiveness, place in therapy according to national guidelines, and safety," Pezalla writes. Maryland Reporter (2/11)
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Legislative & Regulatory News
Senators urge president to support drug-price transparency bills
Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., are urging President Donald Trump to support bills languishing in the House and Senate that would require drugmakers to submit data on expenses before raising the price of some drugs.
STAT (tiered subscription model)/Pharmalot (2/11) 
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White House advisory panel suggests ways to reduce drug spending
The White House's Council of Economic Advisers recommended that the CMS move drugs now covered by Medicare Part B to the Part D program and said the FDA should expedite review of drugs that are second or third in a class with no generic competition and issue final guidelines on how biosimilar-drug makers can demonstrate interchangeability.
Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model) (2/9) 
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Other News
Drug Industry Spotlight
Purdue halts promotion of opioid pain drugs
Purdue halts promotion of opioid pain drugs
(Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
Purdue Pharma stopped the promotion of opioids to physicians, and physicians will now have to call Purdue's medical affairs department for information about the drugs after widespread criticism of how drugmakers market addictive painkillers. The company also cut its sales force in half, with the remaining salespeople focused on nonopioid treatments.
Reuters (2/10) 
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Individually produced drugs may be on the horizon
QR code and 3D printing technologies will allow drugs to be customized for individual patients instead of being mass produced as they are today, according to a paper in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics. New manufacturing methods might also thwart counterfeiters and prevent dosing errors, the researchers said.
Specialty Pharmacy Times (2/9) 
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Novel drugs targeting flu virus could arrive next winter
A number of novel influenza drugs under development could hit US and European markets next winter, giving physicians more options in treating and preventing the infection. Among the potential therapies are Janssen's pimodivir, which interferes with genetic replication by targeting part of a gene found in most seasonal flu viruses, and Shionogi & Co. and Roche's baloxavir, which works by inhibiting an enzyme that the flu virus needs to replicate inside host cells.
Bloomberg (free registration) (2/8) 
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Give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself!
Robert Louis Stevenson,
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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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Charles Cote
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