Clinton Releases Plan to Stem the Rise of Generic Drug Prices

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has released a plan aimed at protecting patients from “unjustified” price hikes of lifesaving medications. Clinton would create a federal consumer oversight body to investigate increasing prices of older drugs with limited competition, specifically, “life-saving or critically needed treatments that have long been available; with no meaningful change or improvement in the product (such as when a new acquirer rapidly raises the price); where there is limited or no competition among manufacturers of the treatment.” The board would have enforcement power if it deems a price increase unjustified, and the company would be fined or face increased rebates. The funds would be used to support the development of lower-cost alternatives and increasing the approval of competing treatments. An unjustified price increase would depend on the magnitude of the increase, cost of production, and the value of the treatment. Release of the plan follows recent outrage from the public and lawmakers about the price of EpiPens.

Lawmakers Urge MACRA Flexibility

A bipartisan group of lawmakers from the House Energy and Commerce Committee and House Ways and Means Committee have written to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell requesting a list of flexibilities for practitioners as the administration implements the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). Specifically, the members request simplified, streamlined, coordinated requirements; clear pathways to succeed in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or the Alternative Payment Model (APM) track; opportunities to move to the APM track and chances to be rewarded for meaningful delivery system reform activities in MIPS and APMs; and appropriate systems to be ready and in place prior to the January 2017 reporting period. The letter
was signed by Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.), Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-Texas), Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), and Ways and Means Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-Mich.), Health Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Jim McDermott (D-Wash.).

Blue Ribbon Panel Makes Cancer Moonshot Recommendations

Blue Ribbon Panel Makes Cancer Moonshot Recommendations – The Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel presented 10 recommendations to the President’s National Cancer Advisory Board last week at the direction of Vice President Biden. With the goal of accelerating cancer research, the Panel calls for

  • Creation of a network for direct patient engagement;
  • Organization of a cancer immunotherapy clinical trials network;
  • Therapeutic target identification to overcome drug resistance;
  • Formation of a national cancer data ecosystem for sharing and analysis;
  • Improving understanding of fusion oncoproteins in pediatric cancer;
  • Symptom management research;
  • Implementation of evidence-based approaches to prevention and early detection;
  • Retrospective analysis of biospecimens from patients treated with standard of care;
  • Generation of human tumor atlases; and
  • Development of new enabling cancer technologies

Senate Aims to Move on CR This Week

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said that he will begin work on a short-term spending measure that will last through December 9 as early as this week. This plan puts him in opposition with the conservative House Freedom Caucus members who support a longer continuing resolution (CR) lasting through early 2017. But with many incumbent senators at risk of losing their seat this election season, McConnell’s plan of moving quickly on a ten-week CR would allow members to return home to campaign earlier than originally scheduled. Lawmakers have through September 30 to come to an agreement that keeps the federal government operating.

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