October 27, 2021
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Featured Story
Pharmacy benefit managers' pharmacists play an important role in health care by helping patients get the medications they need and avoid drug interactions that could be harmful, writes JC Scott, president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association. "Behind the scenes at PBMs, pharmacists are active in ensuring that formularies have drugs to treat the full range of diseases and conditions, that PBMs offer medication management programs, including ones designed to stem opioid abuse, and that PBMs are detecting fraud and abuse that hurt patient care," Scott writes.
Full Story: Medium (tiered subscription model) (10/26) 
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Legislative & Regulatory News
An FDA advisory panel voted on Tuesday to recommend emergency use authorization of a reduced dose of Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. The FDA could make a decision within days, and the CDC's vaccination advisers are scheduled to meet on Nov. 2 to discuss vaccination of younger children.
Full Story: National Public Radio (10/26),  HealthDay News (10/26) 
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Two House lawmakers have introduced legislation that would extend a measure in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act allowing free or reduced-cost use of telehealth services through health savings account-eligible high-deductible health plans. The Primary and Virtual Care Affordability Act would extend the flexibility through 2023 and allow HDHPs to waive deductibles for primary care services.
Full Story: mHealth Intelligence (10/25) 
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Drug Industry Spotlight
Novartis said it received a subpoena from the Department of Justice last month requesting documents involving the pricing and marketing of its heart failure drug Entresto. The Justice Department also requested records of remuneration offered to health care professionals as part of a "civil investigative demand."
Full Story: FiercePharma (10/26) 
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The CDC said in updated guidelines that certain people with weakened immune systems who have received three doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine may be candidates for a fourth dose at least six months after receiving the third shot. The statement applies to moderately to severely immunocompromised adults, including those with untreated or advanced HIV, people who are undergoing treatment for tumors or blood cancers, those who have received certain transplants, and patients who take high doses of immunosuppressants.
Full Story: CNN (10/27) 
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Merck will allow drug manufacturers to develop generic versions of its COVID-19 antiviral medication as part of a deal reached with the United Nations-backed Medicines Patent Pool. Clinical trials showed the treatment reduces the risk of severe illness and mortality for patients with COVID-19, and it is undergoing review by the FDA.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (10/27),  Reuters (10/27) 
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About PCMA
PCMA is the national association representing America's pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which administer prescription drug plans for 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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