January 13, 2021
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Featured Story
A lawsuit filed by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association says HHS and the CMS used an "erratic and highly irregular administrative process" to promulgate a rule restricting how drugmaker rebates are applied under Medicare Part D. Several additional organizations, including the America's Health Insurance Plans, expressed support for PCMA's litigation to overturn the rebate rule.
Full Story: FierceHealthcare (1/12),  Becker's Hospital Review (1/12) 
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Legislative & Regulatory News
To expedite the COVID-19 vaccination pace and make more shots available to the public, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said the federal government is changing its vaccine allocation method by prioritizing states that can quickly administer the vaccines and the size of the over-65 population, rather than focusing on the size of the population in total. The administration will also begin distributing all reserved COVID-19 vaccine doses and encourage states to give vaccines to people ages 65 and older, as well as anyone under 65 with underlying health conditions.
Full Story: The Hill (1/12) 
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Drug Industry Spotlight
Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O'Day said the company is testing remdesivir to find out if it is effective in treating new COVID-19 variants discovered in South Africa and the UK. "Remdesivir works at the source in the cell where the virus replicates, and what we know is in these new variants, that part of the cell is not changing at all in fact. So, we fully expect remdesivir to be effective against these new strains, " O'Day said.
Full Story: CNBC (1/11) 
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The use of innovative mRNA technology to develop the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna will soon be applied to develop novel applications for mRNA vaccines, particularly other infectious diseases. Moderna on Monday announced it now has a program focused on developing vaccines for the seasonal flu, HIV and the Nipah virus, while results from its COVID-19 vaccine trials in young children aren't expected until 2022, according to CEO Stephane Bancel.
Full Story: Quartz (tiered subscription model) (1/11),  CNBC (1/11) 
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Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said the federal government will purchase 1.25 million additional doses of its COVID-19 antibody cocktail to be delivered by June 30. The treatment is being evaluated in clinical studies, including one to determine if it can prevent the spread of COVID-19 within households.
Full Story: MarketWatch (tiered subscription model) (1/12) 
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Humana CEO Bruce Broussard told the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference that the Medicare Advantage program has grown stronger and has bipartisan support, adding he does not expect to see significant changes early in the Biden administration. Centene CEO Michael Neidorff told the conference he thinks the new administration's plans to strengthen the Affordable Care Act will benefit the insurer.
Full Story: FierceHealthcare (1/11),  FierceHealthcare (1/11) 
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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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Charles Cote
Vice President, Strategic Communications
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