Obama Administration Halts Attack on Medicare Drug Plans

In an abrupt about-face, the Obama administration halted its ill-timed effort to launch an overhaul of the Medicare Part D program and announced it would not pursue changes in some key rules as proposed earlier this year. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had issued a proposed rule Jan. 10, 2014 to drop “protected” class status for antidepressants and immunosuppressants in 2015 and antipsychotics in 2016, and to limit the number of Part D plans an insurer can offer in each Medicare region. Insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) backed the reduction in protected drug classes as a way to gain leverage in negotiating lower prices from manufacturers.

Read more »

Pharma Revenues, Health Expenditures Set to Increase

Healthcare spending will rise modestly in the US over the next decade, as economic growth picks up, health reform provides expanded coverage, and the population continues to age, according to an annual analysis from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). These trends similarly will boost expenditures for prescription drugs, but not as quickly as in previous decades.

Outlays for healthcare in the US have grown much more slowly over the past three years, largely due to an economic decline that deterred individuals from seeing doctors and to increased cost-sharing requirements for the privately insured. Minimal growth is continuing this year, but expenditures will begin to rise in 2014, boosting the average growth rate for national health spending to 5.8% through 2022, according to the National Health Expenditure Projections from the CMS Office of the Actuary and published by Health Affairs. Much of the spending will come from public agencies, as healthcare financed by federal, state, and local governments reaches $2.4 trillion in 2022, nearly half of all national health outlays.

Read more »

President Obama’s Plans for Healthcare Reform and Job Growth

President Obama’s State of the Union Address on Feb. 12, 2013 touched on some issues that may directly impact the pharmaceutical industry: healthcare reform, innovation, and job creation. So how has the pharmaceutical industry responded?

Read more »

ABPI Issues Call to Improve UK Pharma

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeThe head of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry has issued a stark warning about the state of the UK’s pharmaceutical industry. In particular, concerns have been raised about the lack of new medicines being used by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), which has affected the profits of the pharmaceutical industry and led to a decline of R&D in the country. Read more »

Key Healthcare Challenges for Obama, Congress

Jill Wechsler Washington EditorEfforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) died on election day, as President Barack Obama won a second term in the White House and the Democrats maintained control of the Senate. House Republicans will continue to challenge various provisions in the health care legislation, but key provisions for pharmaceutical companies, such as rebates on drugs for seniors in the Part D coverage gap and authorization for biosimilars, are unlikely to change. Read more »

Could Ben Venue’s Manufacturing Suspension Have Been Avoided?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorWhen only a handful of manufacturers supply a given drug, production problems at any of those companies can lead to a shortage. Earlier this year, problems at Ben Venue’s Bedford, Ohio, site contributed to shortages of the cancer drug Doxil. The shortages are likely to continue now that Ben Venue has suspended manufacturing at the plant. Read more »

Prosperity through Biology

Erik Greb PharmTech editor

As the unemployment rate hovers around 9.1%, the federal government needs to find ways to create jobs. Congress is debating whether a tax break on repatriated money would prompt companies to hire more workers, as I mentioned last week. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is eyeing another potential means of stimulating job growth: investing in biological research. Read more »

Tax Breaks for Big Pharma: A Remedy for Unemployment?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorWorried about our persistently high rate of unemployment (and his bid for re-election), President Obama is urging Congress to pass portions of his jobs bill. In addition to aiding the economy, creating jobs could help reduce the number of people who are forgoing medications, which would be a boon for the pharmaceutical industry. Perhaps with this in mind, the Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO) has thrown its weight behind a bill it says would create American jobs.

Read more »

Indian-US Trade Relations: A Delicate Balance

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editor President Barack Obama’s state visit to India this week underscores the delicate balance in US–Indian economic relations: that is both the opportunity and competition that arises when advancing economic, trade, and business relations between the two countries. This paradoxical relationship is apparent in the pharmaceutical industry, where India is an important cog in pharmaceutical companies’ strategies for growth in emerging markets, but also a competitive force for suppliers, contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs), and contract research organizations (CROs) serving the pharmaceutical industry. Is this simply a natural byproduct of a global economy or is there a better resolution? Read more »

Report: Obesity Rates Hit More Than 25% in Most of America

Alexis Brekke Pellek PharmTech editorColorado is the country’s only state with an adult obesity rate below 20%. (Its rate is 19.1%.) More than two-thirds of states (38) have adult obesity rates above 25%, and rates increased in 28 states in the past year. These statistics were released this week in F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010, a report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This sobering news comes just in time for America’s 234th birthday, when millions of us will head to cookouts and celebrate with family, friends, and food. Read more »

Next Page »