World Cancer Day, February 4, 2020, was marked by many organizations releasing updates, news, and guidelines. WHO urged nations to improve cancer care protocols for their citizens. NCCN recognized progress but reminded the world that cancer remains the second leading cause of death. This and more in this week’s Innovation Partners BioBlog.

Innovation Partners Weekly BioBlog for February 9, 2020

Insurers: Price transparency rule puts ‘staggering,’ expensive burden on us

Insurers continue to fight back against President Trump’s price transparency law, claiming it will cost 26 times more than the estimated $510,000 figures cited by the administration. The higher figure is due to the fact that the administration did not include the cost of maintenance and program administration. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), which represents 36 Blues plans, said that an economic analysis from Bates White found that the total setup and maintenance cost for an insurer to comply with the rule was $13.63 million, not $510,000 as stated by the government.

Bristol-Myers pulls Opdivo+Yervoy lung application in Europe

Bristol-Myers Squibb announced they were pulling their application for Opdivo+Yervoy in Europe after regulators pushed back against changes in the clinical trials. Europe’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) said that multiple protocol changes in the study made it impossible to assess the trial. The U.S. FDA still has the drug under review. Opdivo+Yervoy are intended to treat non-small cell lung cancer.

CMS rolls out guidance to help states convert Medicaid funding into block grant

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Healthy Adult Opportunity Initiative to enable states to convert Medicaid funding into a block grant. The grant would enable states to apply for a waiver to get a fixed amount to pay for services for adults who are not disabled, elderly or pregnant. Opponents say it will put the vulnerable at risk.

Tackle ‘unacceptable inequalities’ in cancer care, saving up to seven million lives, WHO urges

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that global cancer rates could rise by 60% over the next 20 years and pointed out that less than 15% of nations offer comprehensive cancer care through their health systems. WHO estimates that 7 million lives could be saved through improved cancer treatment. The newly issued report highlights other diseases where a comprehensive care program improves life expectancy and urges nations to improve their treatment plans for cancer patients.

NCCN Recognizes Progress on World Cancer Day while Highlighting Need for Better Global Access to High-Quality Care

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) celebrated its 25th anniversary on World Cancer Day, February 4, 2020. The nonprofit organization announced that cancer deaths have dropped by 29% in the United States since 1991. The group continues to offer guidelines, reports, and other important information to help educate and improve cancer care and patient outcomes. Cancer remains the second leading cause of death worldwide.

Centene delays release of 2020 guidance due to WellCare deal closure

Centene Corporation said that it intends to release consolidated guidance for 2020 on March 3. This includes projections for WellCare Health Plans. The delay is due, in part, to the deal between Centene and WellCare closing on January 23, which made it difficult for the company to release its guidance in February as originally planned. Centene posted $309 million in earnings for the fourth quarter of 2019, reaching $1.9 billion in profits for the full year ending Dec. 31. Both numbers are up from 2018, when the insurer posted $290 million in fourth-quarter profit and $1.4 billion in annual profit. The company attributed revenue growth to its acquisition of Fidelis Care.