The Democrats unveiled their plan to combat rising drug prices. House Leader Nancy Pelosi’s plan would lift the ban on the HHS to allow the secretary to negotiate Medicare drug prices. Pharmaceutical companies would be forced to comply or face stiff penalties. Other top stories this week focus on the cost of pharmaceutical drugs and approaches to reducing Medicare and Medicaid spending. Read more in the Innovation Partners BioBlog.

NCCN Academy for Excellence & Leadership in Oncology

School of Pharmaceutical & Biotech Business
10.29.19 Scottsdale, AZ

This program will give pharmaceutical and biotechnology professionals the rare opportunity to view the oncology space, its future and its current operational issues from the provider, advocacy, and payer perspectives.
NCCN Academy Oct 29 Phoenix AZ

NCCN Academy for Excellence & Leadership in Oncology – School of Pharmaceutical & Biotech Business will take place on Tuesday, October 29 at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Innovation Partners BioBlog Featured Image Crispr

New CRISPR approach could improve gene and cell therapies

A study from biomedical engineers at Duke University hints that CRISPR gene-editing technology could allow scientists to alter both the genes themselves and the epigenome. The epigenome is the network of chemicals and proteins that guide the action of the genes themselves. The Duke researchers used a class 1 CRISPR system to edit the epigenome in cells. They were able to attach gene activators to the Cascade complex and regulate levels of gene expression in cells. They also connected a repressor to Cascade to turn genes off altogether. This is just one of several research teams exploring CRISPR technology to switch genes on and off, with each holding potential for future developments.

Price rollbacks, Medicare negotiations, fines and more: Pharma’s likely to hate House pricing plan

The Democrats unveiled their drug pricing proposal to many questions. Under the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the plan calls for the Health and Human Services Secretary to negotiate prices on 250 drugs each year to save money for both taxpayers and the entire healthcare system. The plan prioritizes the drugs that Medicare spends the most money on for the negotiation process. The catch? Pharmaceutical companies would be required to offer the same discounted prices to private payers. It would also limit how much prices could be raised in the future. Drugmakers cannot avoid the regulations. If they try to, they face penalties starting at 65% of their annual sales.

Pelosi drug bill would give HHS Secretary Alex Azar authority to negotiate prices on 25 drugs

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled a plan that would allow Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices starting with an estimated 25 drugs per year. According to the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 (H.R. 3) the cost for the drugs could be no more than 1.2 times the mean or average price of what consumers pay internationally in Australia, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. The bill ends the ban on the secretary negotiating drug prices for Medicare.

House report: Pegging drug prices to those paid in other countries could save billions

A report from the House Ways and Means Committee compared the price of 79 drugs in the U.S. to those in 11 countries and found that the government could save $49 billion per year in Medicare Part D alone if prices were based on the averages for similar countries. This report underscores House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan unveiled this week that would lift the HHS Secretary’s ban on negotiating Medicare drug prices and begin the process of requiring prices comparable to that given to other nations.

Rebates for brand-name drugs in Part D reduced growth in spending

A report from the Office of the Inspector General found that rebates negotiated by health insurers and pharmacy benefits managers slowed the rate of Medicare Part D spending on brand name drugs by 15%. The OIG examined 1,510 brand name drugs with Part D reimbursement and found that rebates increased from 2011 to 2015 with $2 billion more spent on brand name drugs in 2015 than generics. This increase occurred despite a 33-percent decrease in the total number of prescriptions for brand-name drugs during that time.

The CMS finalizes rule for cuts to Medicaid DSH payments

The CMS published final rules for cuts to Medicaid DSH payments. The rule calculates approximately $4 billion in state Medicaid disproportionate share hospital cuts for fiscal 2020 and $8 billion for each subsequent year through 2025. The final method considers the rate of uninsured in each state, the number of Medicaid inpatients, the level of uncompensated care in the state and other budget-neutrality factors.