The FDA plans to implement a new law allowing certain biologics approved under new drug applications, such as insulin, to be approved under biologics license applications, leading to the approval of interchangeable insulin that can serve as an alternative for branded insulin, said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. "Given our long experience regulating insulin products, and high interest among sponsors who are proposing to develop interchangeable insulins, we're confident that interchangeable insulins -- insulins that will be available for automatic substitution at the pharmacy level -- will be attainable after the transition to deemed BLAs in March 2020," Gottlieb said.
House legislation that includes Internal Revenue Service reforms and disaster relief would also postpone a tax on high-cost health plans until 2023 and would delay the medical device tax by five years. The measure is under consideration in the House Ways and Means Committee.
House lawmakers approved bipartisan legislation that would allow HHS to reclassify drugs and recover rebates when pharmaceuticals firms intentionally misclassify drugs as generics under Medicaid. The bill, introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore, is to offset the cost of the ACE Kids Act, meant to improve care for children who have complex medical needs.
A Commonwealth Fund study found average employee contributions for single and family health plan premiums amounted to 6.9% of median income in 2017, compared with 5.1% in 2008. The report, based on data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, showed average deductibles accounted for 4.8% of median income, up from 2.7% a decade ago.
A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found that 4.2 million people who are currently uninsured could qualify for a bronze-level Affordable Care Act plan for next year at no cost, after accounting for financial assistance. Some consumers, however, may get a better deal by signing up for silver plans with lower cost-sharing.
The CMS said some consumers who call to enroll in a health plan through the federal Affordable Care Act call center will be asked to leave a message due to high traffic, and officials noted that those who do so will be allowed to enroll after the open enrollment deadline on Dec. 15. The agency said the ACA enrollment website experienced its highest traffic volume yet on Monday, the same day that former President Barack Obama released a video on Twitter encouraging people to sign up.
Companies can make it easier for employees to be more physically active by placing waste bins in a central area so people have to walk a distance to toss out trash, says Varidesk CEO Jason McCann. Locating water coolers in common areas, engaging in walking meetings and having corporate leadership provide a good example are other ways to encourage workers to be more active.
The Central Park Conservancy launched the Central Park Access Map to provide individuals with mobility limitations living in New York City with help finding outdoor spaces, playgrounds and trails. The map lists park terrain, how steep trails are and other potential obstacles.
Pharmacy benefit managers or specialty pharmacies should fill the role of vendor in new Medicare Part B drug demonstration projects, and drugmakers should be excluded from the vendor role to avoid a conflict of interest, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association says.
A report from the Pennsylvania auditor general's office is "highly biased" toward the independent drugstore lobby and fails to mention how pharmacy benefit managers reduce prescription drug costs and increase access to medications for Pennsylvania's Medicaid beneficiaries, says Pharmaceutical Care Management Association President and CEO JC Scott.
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