How Quickly Will Drug Prices Come Down: A Look at This Week in Healthcare
This week’s BioBlog focuses on the new: new studies on cancer care, physician reimbursement and more, as well as new venture capital initiatives from United Healthcare. Let’s not forget the potential of a new HHS secretary as confirmation hearings continue. A look at this week in healthcare in the Innovation Partners BioBlog.
HHS secretary nominee Alex Azar tells Senate panel that reducing drug prices would be his top priority
Alex Azar, HHS secretary nominee and the former head of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly’s U.S. operation, told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions during his confirmation hearing that reducing drug prices would be his top priority if confirmed as the next HHS secretary. Azar has previously worked for HHS under the Bush administration. He has not offered specifics on how he would go about lowering drug prices, but he has consistently repeated that this would be his top priority if confirmed.
Although Tom Price no longer heads up the Department of Health and Human Services, one of his pet projects just made it to the finish line. The federal government will no longer mandate that providers participate in bundled payment models for hip fractures and cardiac care.
It’s a term all-too-familiar to cancer survivors and their families: chemo brain. The memory loss, confusion, and sometimes personality changes are often blamed on chemotherapy, but new research suggests these changes begin before chemotherapy starts. Tumors, not medications, may be responsible for changes in the brain.
Several actions are in play as groups respond to proposed cuts in 340B. If they move forward, cuts will take place in 2018. Representatives David McKinley (R-WV) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced a bill to prevent the payment cuts for 340B, while the American Hospital Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, and the Association of American Medical Colleges filed a complaint against CMS arguing that agency cannot cut the Medicare Part B payment rate for 340B-purchased drugs as provided under the OPPS final rule. Other groups and individuals are also protesting the cuts.
Marketplace threats initiated by Amazon making forays into the world of pharmaceutical management have made for unlikely bedfellows. Hospitals, insurers, and drugstores are forming teams for new health care models. A look at the changing world of healthcare from the New York Times.
Although the Trump Administration is focused on lowering drug prices, one group has remained untouched by the changes – drug companies. The Washington Post takes a look at the administration’s attempts to lower drug prices and the areas both affected and unaffected by the focus on lowering drug prices.
A new joint study conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians and Humana finds that overall, family physicians are warming up to the idea of value-based pay models. Among the data that stood out to the study’s authors: 37% of physicians now receive value-based pay compared to 18% in 2015.
United Healthcare is the next to announce it is going into the venture capital space. The company announced the creation of Optum Ventures which will invest in digital startups. United Healthcare is starting Optum with a nice bankroll of $250 million. Optum’s initial focus will be on companies that use data and analytics to improve healthcare delivery and reimbursement.