NIH budget cuts aren't to blame for the lack of an Ebola vaccine and other treatments, writes Jake Novak, supervising producer of the program "Street Signs." Instead, excessive controls and regulations are deterring the for-profit pharmaceutical industry from being more involved in the vaccination business. "Creating the best vaccine in the fastest possible time at the lowest possible cost needs to be something left to the private sector with financial gain, and not political point-scoring, serving as the primary motivation," he writes.
A Congressional Budget Office report found that 25 million uninsured people will get coverage through an expanded Medicaid program or subsidized health insurance marketplaces in the coming decade, which is 2 million less than its estimate of 27 million in February. The drop is attributed to an administration policy change that will excuse up to a million people from the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, the CBO said.
The FDA has uncovered widespread safety problems in the 44 inspections of high-risk compounding pharmacies conducted so far this year, including lax contamination prevention, a review of inspection reports found. The FDA has asked Congress for greater authority to regulate compounding pharmacies. Meanwhile, the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists is working with 27 state pharmacy boards to update rules governing compounders, says IACP CEO David Miller.
The Federal Trade Commission is urging the Supreme Court to prevent brand-name drugmakers from paying rival generic-drug makers to delay the availability of cheaper generic drugs. The justices will listen to arguments today in a case that will affect the health of patients as well as drug prices. "A lot of us take prescription drugs, and price is a significant factor," Rutgers-Camden law professor Michael Carrier said. "The price difference between a brand-name drug and a generic can be astronomical." Drugmakers say the settlements can bring generics to consumers years earlier than the drugs would arrive if the cases were litigated.
Democrats led by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., introduced a 10-year budget plan that includes relatively smaller Medicare and Medicaid cuts. The plan challenges President Barack Obama's renewed efforts to strike a budget bargain with Republicans that includes Medicare and Social Security cuts. The Senate proposal would take $275 billion from Medicaid and Medicare instead of the $400 billion in Medicare savings the president proposed.