This week in the Innovation Partners BioBlog, Pfizer and Mylan are rumored to be closing a deal that would merge Upjohn with Myland to focus on low-priced drugs. Merck takes another step on the road to immunotherapy treatment for breast cancer. The Trump administration continues its quest for hospital pricing transparency to empower consumers, and the same judge who struck down the Medicaid work requirement in two other states also struck it down in New Hampshire for similar reasons. This and more in this week’s Innovation Partners BioBlog.


Pfizer and Mylan reportedly near merger deal for low-priced drugs

The Wall Street Journal reported that Pfizer and Mylan may be completing a deal to tackle the low-priced drug market. The report says that Pfizer would spin off its Upjohn business, which runs a portfolio of drugs that are no longer protected by patents, and combine the firm with Mylan, which manufactures generic and name-brand drugs. Both companies declined to comment.
Read More

Judge strikes down New Hampshire Medicaid work requirements program

A federal judge struck down New Hampshire’s work requirement for Medicaid. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg issued the decision after several federal courts struck down similar work requirement programs in Kentucky and Arkansas. Boasberg was the same judge who struck down both of those programs for similar reasons. The new rule would cause a dramatic drop in Medicaid rolls, leaving many people without coverage. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated enrollment losses of between 2,600 and 7,500.
Read More

Diagnostic company Exact Sciences to buy Genomic Health in $2.8 billion deal

Exact Sciences Corp said on Monday it will buy Genomic Health Inc for about $2.8 billion in cash and stock, expanding the cancer diagnostic company’s testing capabilities to breast and prostate cancers. Genomic Health would help expand Exact Sciences’ focus from screening into treatment selection as well as monitoring.
Read More

Merck Data Are Another Step for Immunotherapy in Breast Cancer

Merck this morning announced that a combination of its drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and chemotherapy succeeded in a Phase 3 study in breast cancer, a potentially notable advance for immunotherapy in treating the disease. According to Merck, Keytruda and chemotherapy beat chemo alone when given to patients with triple-negative breast cancer in a study called Keynote-522. The regimen was administered during what’s known as the neoadjuvant setting, before patients have surgery to remove a tumor.
Read More

HHS’ OIG: CMS must review how MSSP overhaul is affecting ACO care

A report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General urged the Trump administration to review how major changes to accountable care organizations (ACOs) have impacted their ability to coordinate value-based care. The report, delivered Friday, indicated that ACOs have shared successful strategies to lower Medicare spending. But the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) must do better in publicizing such strategies in addition to performing a review.
Read More

CMS proposes hospitals post online negotiated rates with payers

The Trump administration proposed that every U.S. hospital participating in Medicare must publish the prices they negotiate with payers for standard services and items. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services spelled out the requirements for hospitals on Monday as part of a proposed rule for the Outpatient Prospective Payment System. The rule goes further than a rule that went into effect this year that requires hospitals to post list prices on their websites. These actions are all part of the administration’s efforts to boost transparency and enable consumers to price shop for medical services similar to how they shop in other industries for services.
Read More