News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
11/20/2018

A national report found that generic drugs account for 83% of total prescriptions filled, yet brand-name medications continue to fuel rising spending on medications. Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon's director of clinical pharmacy services, David Robertson, says the insurer has seen similar trends, but it has been able to shift its proportion of generics to 87% as it leverages transparency, evidence-based reviews and real-world data.

11/20/2018

CDC officials reported that 106 cases of acute flaccid myelitis in 29 states have been confirmed so far this year, and most cases of the polio-like illness have affected children. The cause of the disease remains unknown, but CDC Director Robert Redfield said the agency is creating a task force of medical, scientific and public health experts to investigate.

11/20/2018

A data brief from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics showed that total infant mortality in the US dropped from 6.75 deaths per 1,000 births to 6.07 between 2007 and 2011, but only declined to 5.87 per 1,000 in 2016. Total infant, neonatal, and post-neonatal mortality rates varied by maternal characteristics such as mother's race and age.

11/20/2018

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who is expected to chair the House Judiciary Committee in January, said the panel will scrutinize the Justice Department's refusal to defend the Affordable Care Act against a lawsuit filed by 20 state attorneys general. In a letter to acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, Nadler said the committee also plans to look at the "abrupt resignation of veteran department employees and an apparent determination by this administration to undermine affordable health care coverage for millions."

Full Story:
Reuters
11/20/2018

Kaleo raised the price of emergency opioid overdose treatment Evzio and subsidized consumer purchases of the product but left payers, including Medicare and Medicaid, on the hook for the full price, costing taxpayers more than $142 million between 2014 and 2017, according to a Senate report. Kaleo ended agreements with pharmacy benefit managers and insurers for drug coverage under commercial and Medicare Part D plans, stopping rebate agreements that cut the cost of the treatment.

11/20/2018

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America's tax filings show large donations to conservative political action committees and to an addiction nonprofit.

11/20/2018

The FDA is changing its approach for dealing with drug shortages, and the effort could lead to lower drug production costs, according to a blog post by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Director Janet Woodcock.

Full Story:
Regulatory Focus
11/20/2018

Some batches of valsartan made for Mylan at a plant in India contained N-nitrosodiethylamine, according to the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Healthcare, which suspended approval of the product.

Full Story:
Regulatory Focus
11/20/2018

Pharmacists are learning how to administer naloxone so they can teach customers how to do it.

11/20/2018

Long-term-care insurance premiums are considered a medical expense, but the IRS is putting in place new tax deductibility limits. The changes for 2019 are based on the age of the policyholder.

More Summaries:
IRS