Promote competition to reduce drug prices, Merritt tells Congress | Merritt outlines "market-based policy solutions" | Major employers to cooperate on controlling health care costs
February 5, 2016
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Promote competition to reduce drug prices, Merritt tells Congress
At a congressional hearing on drug pricing on Thursday, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association President and CEO Mark Merritt called for the FDA to speed drug approvals, emphasized the need for stricter rules against copay coupons that raise costs and called for a list of off-patent branded drugs that lack competition. Street Journal (2/4), American Pharmacy News (2/4), The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (2/4), (2/4), Bloomberg Government (subscription required) (2/4), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (2/4)
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Legislative & Regulatory News
Major employers to cooperate on controlling health care costs
Twenty large companies with 4 million employees have formed an alliance to share data on health care benefits, and they may take steps to negotiate together for lower prices. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (2/4)
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FDA to change opioid drug evaluation, approval policies
Confirmation Hearing Held For FDA Commissioner Nominee Robert Califf
Califf (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
The FDA said it will change its regulations on reviewing new opioid treatments and will consult with an advisory committee before approving opioid painkillers that lack abuse-deterrent properties. The agency also plans to unveil more safety data related to immediate-release opioid drugs and toughen the requirements for drug companies to generate postmarket information. Despite the plans, Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said he will continue to hold his vote on Dr. Robert Califf to be the next FDA commissioner until the agency agrees to seek outside experts' recommendations for all opioid drug formulations. Reuters (2/4)
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12.7M Americans sign up for coverage under ACA, Burwell says
HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced Thursday that about 12.7 million Americans signed up for health care coverage through Affordable Care Act exchanges, up from last year's final tally of 11.7 million. The number fell within the range of federal estimates and included 2.7 million people ages 18 to 34. The federal exchange garnered 5.6 million return customers and almost 4 million first-time enrollees, Burwell said. Reuters (2/4), Bloomberg (2/4)
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Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world."
-- Eckhart Tolle,
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PCMA is the national association representing America's pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which administer prescription drug plans for more than 253 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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