Mergers, acquisitions, and changes abound this week in the world of healthcare. Aetna plans to sell its Medicare Part D business as part of its deal to go ahead with its CVS merger. UnitedHealth purchased Genoa and plans to fold it into its Optum RX business. Discussions of drug prices, value-based contracts and more are all in this week’s Innovation Partners BioBlog.
Oklahoma Signs the Nation’s First State Medicaid Value-Based Contracts for Rx Drugs
Oklahoma, the first state Medicaid program to begin value-based contracts for prescription drugs, recently added a second value-based contract to its list. This week it has added a prescription drug to treat bacterial skin infections to the list of value-based contracts. The first medication on the list was an antipsychotic drug. While private insurers have added value-based contracting, Oklahoma is the first state to do so.
Aetna to sell its Medicare Part D drug plan business to WellCare Health Plans
Aetna has agreed to sell its Medicare Part D drug business to WellCare Health Plans. The deal was made with an eye towards achieving regulatory approval from the Trump Administration for Aetna’s proposed $69 billion merger with CVS Health. WellCare Group, the company behind WellCare Health Plans, has inked several deals recently. This new one marks its third in the past two years.
Humana sinks $15M into new University of Houston medical school focused on population health
Louisville-based Humana corporation is giving $15 million to the University of Houston for a new school to focus on educating physicians in population health. The gift will fund the Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute at the University of Houston, which will encompass the new College of Medicine with existing nursing, pharmacy, social worth and optometry programs. The deal is part of a 10-year partnership between Humana and the University intended to educate future physicians on the importance of value-based care, health disparities, social determinants of health and community health.
AHA: CMS’ site-neutral payment plan could lead to access problems as hospitals cut services
Controversy swirls around the CMS site-neutral payment plan. The American Hospital Association claims the plan may not be CMS’ decision to make. They also claim it could lead to access problems and cancelled services. AHA has consistently opposed site-neutral payment plans.
AP investigation: Drug prices going up despite Trump promise
Although President Donald Trump made lowering the cost of prescription drugs a priority for his administration, an AP investigation reveals costs have continued to climb, albeit not quite as steeply as in previous years. To date, there have been far more price increases than decreases.
FDA Approves Libtayo® (Cemiplimab-rwlc) As First And Only Treatment For Advanced Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Sanofi today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Libtayo® (cemiplimab-rwlc) for the treatment of patients with metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC) or locally advanced CSCC who are not candidates for curative surgery or curative radiation. Libtayo is a fully-human monoclonal antibody targeting the immune checkpoint receptor PD-1 (programmed cell death protein-1) and is the first and only treatment specifically approved and available for advanced CSCC in the U.S.
UnitedHealth buys Genoa Healthcare, adding more than 400 pharmacies to its PBM
UnitedHealth has purchased Genoa Healthcare, the fifth-largest pharmacy supply chain in the nation. The purchase includes 435 Genoa locations. Genoa will be absorbed by UnitedHealth’s Optum RX. Genoa fills more than 15 million prescriptions per year for 650,000 customers. The merger is intended to help patients needing behavior health and substance abuse treatment. Genoa’s services include telepsychiatry and medication management for behavior health problems.