Today's News and Commentary

About pharma

Governor Baker has plan to rein in soaring drug costs in state Medicaid program: Joining California, Massachusetts will negotiate Medicaid drug prices directly with manufacturers to save a projected $80million per year.

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Humira biosimilars catch fire in Europe and could take half the market in a year: Availability of biologically- derived generics are increasing at a rapid rate as patents for their branded “parents” expire. AbbVie’s blockbuster drug Humira is due to go off-patent next year and the company’s lost market share was supposed to be twenty percent. Instead, estimates are for a 50% loss. This article reviews bio similars’ impact on the market.

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New Coalition to Lobby Against Patent Misuse by Branded Companies: “The Coalition Against Patent Abuse (CAPA) aims to stop Big Pharma from gaming the system to extend their monopolies at consumers’ expense.” This coalition is comprised of such organizations as AHIP and Kaiser Permanente. Its website details the tactics pharma  uses to keep patent, and thus drug price, protection.

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Connect to CAPA website

Not-for-profit to offer 20 generic drugs in 2019 to alleviate shortages: As previously-mentioned, the large hospital consortium CivicaRx was formed to supply generics to its members. The news now is that the organization has listed 14 drugs it will have produced for them. The products are those that are frequently are in short supply, ranging from saline to propofol.

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About information technology

Can Blockchain Solve the Mess of Medical Records? IBM Announces Tie-Up With Healthcare Providers: CVS Health Corp’s Aetna  Inc, Anthem, Health Care Service Corp and financial services company PNC Bank are partnering with IBM to set up blockchain applications for their companies. This technology and Artificial Intelligence (in which IBM’s Watson is a big player) are seen as two of the biggest IT initiatives in healthcare.

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About health insurance

What’s Behind 2018 and 2019 Marketplace Insurer Participation and Pricing Decisions?:
2019 results for the ACA Exchanges are more stable than those of 2018. Last year saw very high premium raises as out of pocket subsidies were eliminated. Due to marketplace and regulatory uncertainties, the number of available plans on exchanges was reduced. This year, premium prices moderated and there was an increase in available plans. One way participating plans have reduced costs is by narrowing available provider networks.

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