HEALTH CARE BRIEFING: Biden Prods Senate to Act on Drug Prices

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President Joe Biden has said prescription drug prices in the United States are excessively high and his high tax and budget budget will help keep costs down, as he pushes the Senate to pass the law.

“We can agree that prescription drugs are shockingly expensive in this country,” Biden told the White House yesterday. “It doesn’t have to be like that.”

The plan, which is part of the Build Back Better Act passed by the House, would follow through on Democrats’ long-standing promise to order the federal government to negotiate Medicare drug prices and penalize drug companies for outbreaks. massive prices.

The President described patients who have had to take half their drug doses or go without necessary drugs altogether because of the high prices. He praised drugmakers for developing life-saving products, but said they were abusing consumers.

“Nobody stands up for patients,” Biden said. “No one has held the manufacturers accountable so far. “

Majority Leader in the Senate Chuck schumer (DN.Y.) said yesterday in a letter to Democratic senators that the bill would go through committees within the next two weeks and that “our goal in the Senate is to pass the bill before Christmas and get it through. forward to the president’s office. “

It is not clear, however, whether this timeline is realistic. Biden wasn’t as final as Schumer on timing. When asked yesterday if he expected the bill to be completed by Christmas, the president said he wanted it done “as soon as we can get it”. But, he added, “I want to do it, however long it takes.” Read more about Jennifer Epstein.

Happens on the Hill

Lawmakers are seeking a path for health provisions: Congressional leaders looking for ways to get around a partisan deadlock over raising the debt ceiling and automatic Medicare cuts are considering procedural maneuvers tying them to a must-see defense policy bill. One option under discussion is for the House to pass the defense bill agreed to by Democrats and Republicans in both chambers, according to the aide, and then separately pass a second bill with a one-time increase in the ceiling of debt with fast-track procedures in the Senate, which would also lift the so-called Paygo law to avoid automatic cuts in Medicare early next year. Billy House and Laura Litvan Have More Efforts.

  • Representatives Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.) And Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) Led 22 members of the Congressional Tri-Caucus in a letter to President Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urging the inclusion of language in any year-end legislative package to block impending Medicare cuts. Lawmakers seek to block part of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ 2022 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule that deals with updates to clinical work data. “It is clear that all the benefits of implementing the clinical work policy at this time are more than outweighed by the significant negative impacts on PHC specialists, which will exacerbate health inequalities, promote the consolidation of health. health system and undermine specialist care, ”they wrote.

Biparty appeal for GAO review of medical advertising: Rep. Angie craig (D-Minn.) And John joyce (R-Pa.) Led 17 lawmakers in request the Government Accountability Office to review regulations on direct-to-consumer advertising practices for prescription products, such as contact lenses and orthodontic appliances. “The rise of internet marketing and the push towards a DTP healthcare delivery model represents a major shift within our healthcare system. We are concerned that with the rapid growth of DTC advertising, appropriate regulatory oversight may be delayed, ”the members said in a letter.

Medical treatment of migrants survey reveals substandard care: Leading House Democrats want swift action from Department of Homeland Security after investigation found doctor at immigration detention center “failed to meet acceptable standards of care” it provided services to migrants. The Homeland Security and Oversight and Reform Committees launched a joint investigation last year in response to reports of forced hysterectomies and other medical abuse at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia. The panels’ review of medical records could not determine whether the migrants were subjected to forced surgeries, but found that the facility’s doctor was providing substandard care. Read more about Ellen M. Gilmer.

Lawmakers Question FDA on Electronic Cigarette Approvals: Chairman of the Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee on House Surveillance and Reform. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) And senior Republican representative. michael cloud (R-Texas) sent a letter to the FDA requesting information on the agency’s progress in reviewing pre-market tobacco product applications from electronic cigarette manufacturers. “The request is the subcommittee’s most recent effort to ensure that the FDA exercises its full power to protect children from harmful e-cigarette products,” lawmakers said in an emailed statement. , Reports by Kasia Klimasinska.

Biotech sector on track for year low after Sanders tweet: Biotech stocks were on course to close at their lowest since November 2020 after Sen. Bernie sanders (I-Vt.) Hooked up the world’s leading vaccine makers, Pfizer and Moderna on Twitter yesterday. The drop follows last week’s 4.5% drop that capped five weeks of losses for the industry, the longest losing streak since 2016. Sanders had tweeted, “It’s obscene. Last week, 8 investors in Pfizer and Moderna made $ 10 billion richer as news of the Omicron variant spread. It’s time for these pharmaceutical companies to share their vaccines with the world and start to control their greed. Enough is enough! ” Read more Cristin Flanagan reports.

The coronavirus pandemic

Fauci says ethics drive Biden’s Covid-19 policy more than Trump’s: US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci has defended Biden’s Covid-19 strategy, saying the administration considers its ethical implications more than Trump’s. The Trump administration has only considered ethics when making decisions on Covid-19 “on an ad hoc basis”, compared to that of Biden, Fauci said yesterday on a webcast run by the World Health Organization on Pandemic Ethics. Fauci, who is also director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said ethics must underpin policies around travel and the sharing of resources, including for vaccines. Read more about Thomas Mulier and Corinne Gretler.

NYC will be the first city in the United States with a commercial vaccine mandate: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would become the first in the country to impose a vaccination mandate on private sector workers from December 27, calling it a “preventive strike” to prevent a potential upsurge of Covid-19 cases facing the omicron variant. His office said the mandate, which will come into effect just days before de Blasio leaves office due to the length of the mandate, will cover around 184,000 companies.

The city is also tightening vaccination rules for indoor dining, entertainment and fitness – which currently require people to have received at least one dose – to allow access only to people 12 years of age and older. who are fully vaccinated. Children aged 5 to 11 will need to show proof of a dose of the vaccine as of December 14. Read more about Elaine Chen.

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What else to know

Hahn at the head of an early cancer diagnosis company: Stephen Hahn, the former principal US drug regulator, will run a company aimed at helping diagnose cancer in the early stages of the disease. The company, Harbinger Health, will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze blood tests, helping doctors detect cancer early and intervene quickly, said Hahn, who was director of the state Food and Drug Administration. -United under former President Donald Trump. Read more about Fiona Rutherford.

SCOTUS rejects bid to revive Atrium Health antitrust case: The United States Supreme Court yesterday refused to consider relaunching antitrust litigation against Atrium Health over allegations that the multi-state public hospital system exceeded its initial classification as a “local” government unit with a statutory immunity from antitrust damages. The judges said they would not review the decision of a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., Which dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit challenging Atrium’s alleged practice of exploiting its dominant position on the market to prohibit insurers from “directing” patients to inexpensive health care. Read more about Mike Leonard.

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Walgreen defeats DOJ’s Medicaid Virginia fraud costume: Walgreens convinced a district court to dismiss a False Claims Act lawsuit, alleging it embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Virginia’s Medicaid program by submitting bogus claims for hepatitis C drugs. Federal and Virginia prosecutors did not sufficiently allege that the false records of a former Walgreen employee led to payments for medically unnecessary prescriptions, said James P. Jones of the US District Court for the Western District of Virginia in a December 3 notice. Read more about Daniel Seiden.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Michaela ross in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Zachary Sherwood To [email protected]; Giuseppe Macri To [email protected]; Michaela ross To [email protected]

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