PCMA launches new podcast “The Pharmacy Benefit” highlighting PBM value, health care trends and challenges | Grassley: Trump still wants Congressional action on drug prices | US pledges $1.2B for 300M doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
May 22, 2020
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Featured Story
In a new podcast series, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association President and CEO JC Scott and leading policy experts and analysts discuss the latest trends, policies and political challenges in drug pricing and health care.
Full Story: The Pharmacy Benefit/Apple (5/20) 
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Legislative & Regulatory News
Grassley: Trump still wants Congressional action on drug prices
Grassley (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said President Donald Trump still wants Congress to take action to lower prescription drug costs despite the pandemic. Grassley, who co-sponsored drug pricing legislation with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said the economic fallout from the pandemic "lends even more urgency to our efforts to ensure lifesaving cures are affordable."
Full Story: The Hill (5/20) 
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The US has pledged up to $1.2 billion from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for 300 million doses of the experimental COVID-19 vaccine AZD1222 being developed jointly by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. The target availability date of the first doses could be as early as October, according to an HHS statement.
Full Story: Reuters (5/21),  United Press International (5/21) 
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A Healthcare Financial Management Association survey of hospital executives found almost two-thirds expect full-year revenues will decrease by at least 15% because of the novel coronavirus pandemic and 20% expect declines of more than 30%. Just 3% of said government stimulus funding would be sufficient to cover pandemic-related costs, and almost 30% said a merger or new partnership has become more likely.
Full Story: HealthLeaders Media (5/21) 
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Drug Industry Spotlight
US physicians and others in the scientific sector are calling for the release of the complete trial findings that convinced the FDA to grant emergency use authorization to Gilead Sciences' antiviral drug remdesivir to treat COVID-19. "We want to direct the drug to those most likely to benefit and least likely to be harmed," Dr. Helen Boucher, chief of infectious diseases at Tufts Medical Center, said.
Full Story: Reuters (5/21) 
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Opinion, Commentary & Analysis
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation CEO Drew Altman says the novel coronavirus pandemic is creating a list of short- and long-term questions for the health care policy community to answer. Short-term issues include health insurance, health spending and state budget crises, while long-term concerns include what to do about public health and a national plan for next time, Altman says.
Full Story: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (5/21) 
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Editor's Note
SmartBrief will not publish Monday
In observance of Memorial Day in the US, SmartBrief will not publish Monday, May 25. Publication will resume Tuesday, May 26.
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If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else.
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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 270 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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