News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
9/25/2018

An analysis in JAMA Internal Medicine found that the rate of arthroscopic knee surgeries among adults with painful arthritis or torn cartilage in Florida dropped 23% from 2002 to 2015, even as the nationwide prevalence of adult knee osteoarthritis cases grew from 6.6% in 1999 to 14.3% by 2014. The findings, based on analysis of 868,482 arthroscopic knee procedures performed during the period, showed declines were steeper after 2008 following the release of a major study showing the surgeries offer little benefit to patients.

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Reuters
9/25/2018

The FDA granted accelerated approval for Verastem Oncology's Copiktra, or duvelisib, as a treatment for adult patients with small lymphocytic lymphoma or relapsed/refractory follicular lymphoma or chronic lymphocytic leukemia following two or more lines of therapy.

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Seeking Alpha
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Lymphoma, FDA, Verastem
9/25/2018

An analysis from The Associated Press found that drugmakers implemented more drug price hikes than cuts from January through July despite the Trump administration's campaign to lower drug prices. There were 4,412 price hikes and 46 cuts during the period, but there were fewer increases than in previous years and the median increase was smaller than in 2017, though the median price cut was also smaller than in prior years.

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The Associated Press
9/25/2018

House and Senate lawmakers finalized a major opioid legislative package late Monday, and it won't include a technical change to Medicare Part D's "doughnut hole" language pushed by pharmaceutical firms. The final package includes a measure by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, that would temporarily lift restrictions on use of Medicaid funds for inpatient addiction treatment.

9/25/2018

Gilead Sciences said it will launch generic versions of its blockbuster hepatitis C drugs Epclusa and Harvoni in January through a new subsidiary called Asegua Therapeutics. The authorized generics will cost $24,000 per treatment course, well below the launch prices of Harvoni and Epclusa, which were $94,500 and $74,760, respectively.

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Gilead Sciences, Harvoni
9/25/2018

Under the leadership of President and CEO Mark Merritt, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association has educated lawmakers about the pharmaceutical industry and how pharmacy benefit managers work. "Our strength is coming up with serious policy solutions that show how to reduce drug costs for consumers," Merritt said.

9/25/2018

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America pushed to add a provision to bills meant to curb opioid misuse that would reverse a law requiring drugmakers to offer a 70% discount to Medicare Part D subscribers in the coverage gap.

9/25/2018

A final guidance document and a draft guidance document will streamline the FDA review process for generic, branded and biologic drugs and aim to help sponsors submit high-quality applications to avoid multiple review cycles, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says.

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FDA, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb
9/25/2018

Makers of brand-name drugs have continued to raise prices far more often than they have lowered them, despite promises from the industry and the Trump administration. From January through July there were 96 price increases for each price cut, including 395 price increases and 24 decreases in June and July alone.

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ABC News
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Trump administration
9/25/2018

Only 16% of children who experienced adverse events after being vaccinated had another reaction after receiving a booster shot, and more than 80% of the succeeding reactions were no more serious than the initial reaction, according to a study of Canadian patients in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. "Most patients with a history of mild or moderate adverse events following immunization can be safely re-immunized," said researcher Dr. Gaston De Serres.

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