Policy

H.R. 3, The Lower Drug Costs Now Act, passed 2 committees in the House of Representatives Thursday, with a bipartisan amendment intended to boost uptake of biosimilars tucked inside.   
A trio of employer groups has formed a new partnership to advocate for policies that address the problem of high—and growing—drug costs.
Representatives Paul Tonko, D-New York, and Rob Gibbs, R-Ohio, have introduced H.R. 4629, the Star Ratings for Biosimilars Act, in the House. The bipartisan bill would require HHS to evaluate Medicare Advantage (MA) plans based on whether biosimilars are available to enrollees.
No matter which piece of a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report or a similar one from CMS actuary that observers seize on, both documents indicate that HR 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019, would save federal spending and improve health, at least in the short term, and also have a dramatic impact on the prescription drug industry.
The MAGIC Act would amend the Affordable Care Act to allow chemically synthesized insulins to be approved under abbreviated new drug applications.
The bill prohibits these agreements between brand name and generic drug manufacturers by making them presumptively anticompetitive if the nonreference drug maker receives anything of value from the other company. The bill would make violating these provisions punishable by civil penalty.
Major drug companies poured hundreds of millions of dollars into nonprofit patient advocacy groups last year, as a fight over federal legislation to curb rising pharmaceutical prices is underway, Bloomberg Government reports.
A new KPMG report, commissioned by generic and biosimilar trade group Medicines for Europe, identifies some of the features of drug procurement in hospitals in different countries in Europe, explains how they impact biosimilar uptake, and gives recommendations to help biosimilars play a role in the strong—and growing—need to reduce spending in health systems.
 
A trio of health policy experts, writing in The New England Journal of Medicine, recently analyzed 3 proposals to redesign Medicare Part D in an effort to curb the effect of rising drug prices on beneficiaries.
The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) has issued its first annual report on unsupported price increases for US drugs. The report found that 3 brand-name biologics that have FDA-approved biosimilars—adalimumab, rituximab, and pegfilgrastim—have had significant price increases that were not supported by new clinical evidence.    

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