The CMS announced Thursday that it might allow Medicare drug plans to require that members get opioid prescriptions from selected prescribers and fill them only at certain pharmacies as part of measures to fight the opioid abuse epidemic. The agency is also considering requiring payers to pass on drug discounts to consumers, treating out-of-pocket costs for biosimilars like generic drugs and permitting midyear formulary changes after a lower-cost generic drug enters the market. The proposal is open for comments until Jan. 16.
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions is scheduled to hold a hearing on Nov. 29 to discuss President Donald Trump's nomination of former Eli Lilly and Co. executive Alex Azar for HHS secretary. Azar, who previously served as HHS general counsel and then deputy secretary during President George W. Bush's administration, will likely face questions about his time as a pharmaceutical executive and his plans for the Affordable Care Act.
Middle-age and older women who had more than one traumatic life event had an 11% higher risk of obesity than women who did not have any events, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's annual meeting. Women who experienced four or more negative events over five years had a 36% higher risk of obesity.
Playful mindsets are more important contributors to employee wellness than colorful offices or carefully selected artwork on the walls, explains scholar and author Brian Sutton-Smith. It's most important to provide employees with spaces where they can relax or be playful, according to Curiosity China co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Alexis Bonhomme.
A study in the journal NeuroImage found aerobic exercise increased the left side of the hippocampus in the brain, an area involved in memory function and verbal learning. Lead author Joseph Firth said the data suggest aerobic exercise is a maintenance program for the brain, slowing cognitive decline related to aging that comes from a decrease in the side of the left hippocampus.
Researchers tied every one standard deviation increase in maternal nonfreeway nitrogen oxide exposure during pregnancy to 33% higher leptin levels, 9% increased high-molecular-weight adiponectin levels and 23% higher leptin-to-HMW adiponectin ratios in their infants' cord blood. The findings in Pediatric Obesity also showed that infants gained 0.21 kg and 0.18 kg between ages 1 month and 6 months for every one SD increase in cord blood leptin and leptin-to-HMW adiponectin ratio, respectively, with girls having more significant weight gain than boys.
John Kapoor, founder of pharmaceutical firm Insys Therapeutics, entered a not guilty plea to conspiracy to commit racketeering, mail fraud and wire fraud charges over his alleged involvement in an opioid painkiller bribery scheme. Kapoor and six other former Insys executives were accused of paying bribes to doctors and other medical professionals in exchange for prescribing Subsys, the company's fentanyl-based spray for cancer pain, and of defrauding private insurers into approving payments for the drug.
Analysts say the FDA is likely to approve Spark Therapeutics' gene therapy for RPE65-mediated retinal dystrophy and have estimated a likely price of around $1 million. The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review says that price is not cost-effective, while Spark CEO Jeff Marrazzo has hinted that $1 million is too low.