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Costly specialty drugs drive up Medicare tab

Costly specialty drugs drive up Medicare tab

ProPublica and The New York Times look at the explosive spending growth from an obscure medication for treating multiple sclerosis and a rare kidney disease -- and how several top prescribers have links to drugmaker, Questcor Pharmaceuticals. [More]
Roundtable discussion on heroin and prescription drug abuse

Roundtable discussion on heroin and prescription drug abuse

Jersey Shore University Medical Center hosted a roundtable discussion on August 4, led by Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, to discuss the continued growth in heroin and prescription drug abuse in the shore community. [More]
Aeterna Zentaris signs strategic co-promotion services agreement with ASCEND

Aeterna Zentaris signs strategic co-promotion services agreement with ASCEND

Aeterna Zentaris Inc. today announced a strategic co-promotion services agreement with ASCEND Therapeutics US, LLC. [More]

Medicare drug premiums to rise $1 a month in 2015

The modest increase of the monthly premium to $32 comes even as officials are concerned about the impact of expensive specialty drugs, such as Sovaldi, which cures hepatitis C but costs $1,000 a pill. [More]
State highlights: New York state faces $1.3B Medicaid payback problem while Mayor De Blasio advances plan to reduce city employees' health costs

State highlights: New York state faces $1.3B Medicaid payback problem while Mayor De Blasio advances plan to reduce city employees' health costs

When Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his first labor agreements with New York City unions this spring, he was sharply criticized for granting long-awaited wage increases in exchange for promises of unspecified though sizable savings on health care expenses (Greenhouse and Stewart, 7/29). [More]
First Edition: July 30, 2014

First Edition: July 30, 2014

Today's headlines include a range of health policy headines, including news from Capitol Hill on the Senate confirmation of Robert McDonald to head the VA. [More]
FDA approves use of Imbruvica to treat patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia

FDA approves use of Imbruvica to treat patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today expanded the approved use of Imbruvica (ibrutinib) to treat patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who carry a deletion in chromosome 17 (17p deletion), which is associated with poor responses to standard treatment for CLL. Imbruvica received a breakthrough therapy designation for this use. [More]
Minister Ambrose calls for proposals to tackle prescription drug abuse

Minister Ambrose calls for proposals to tackle prescription drug abuse

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, today issued a national Call for Proposals to improve the prescribing practices for prescription drugs that have a high risk of abuse or addiction. [More]
Longer looks: the economics of infertility; placebos as treatment raises ethical dilemmas

Longer looks: the economics of infertility; placebos as treatment raises ethical dilemmas

About a decade ago, Medicaid programs were struggling to keep up with skyrocketing prescription drug costs. Between 1997 and 2002, drug spending in the program for low-income Americans grew by about 20 percent annually. ... Medicaid directors began looking for ways to tamp down on those costs. One of the most popular policies was something called "prior authorization" for a new wave of more expensive, anti-psychotic drugs ,... These policies, in a sense, worked: they helped rein in how much Medicaid spent filling prescriptions. But in another sense, they may not have worked at all: a growing body of research has begun questioning whether restricting drug spending may have just shifted costs elsewhere -; particularly, into the prison system (Sarah Kliff, 7/22). [More]
Oregano and rosemary help lower glucose in blood

Oregano and rosemary help lower glucose in blood

The popular culinary herbs oregano and rosemary are packed with healthful compounds, and now lab tests show they could work in much the same way as prescription anti-diabetic medication, scientists report. [More]
FDA approves Targiniq ER to treat severe pain

FDA approves Targiniq ER to treat severe pain

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Targiniq ER (oxycodone hydrochloride and naloxone hydrochloride extended-release tablets), an extended-release/long-acting (ER/LA) opioid analgesic to treat pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment and for which alternative treatment options are inadequate. [More]
State highlights: Iowa invests in autism program; rural docs feel the pinch of Wisconsin's low Medicaid payments

State highlights: Iowa invests in autism program; rural docs feel the pinch of Wisconsin's low Medicaid payments

A selection of health policy stories from New York, Missouri, Texas, Massachusetts, Maine, Georgia and Pennsylvania. [More]
For Medicare, good news for future, changes in hospice rules

For Medicare, good news for future, changes in hospice rules

And a new report by a conservative group identifies Medicare Advantage cuts by congressional district. [More]
First Edition: July, 21, 2014

First Edition: July, 21, 2014

Today's headlines include a story about an effort by regulators to widen insurer networks, as well as a range of other health policy developments. [More]
Research roundup: ACA lawsuit primer; ACA strategies in 4 states; competitive plans for those eligible for Medicare and Medicaid

Research roundup: ACA lawsuit primer; ACA strategies in 4 states; competitive plans for those eligible for Medicare and Medicaid

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the ACA, but that did not end attacks against the law. Since the decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, objecting parties have filed more than 100 cases in federal courts nationwide. [More]
National Med Care partners with Taking You Forward for marketing pharmaceutical products in the U.S.

National Med Care partners with Taking You Forward for marketing pharmaceutical products in the U.S.

Richmond Private Equity Group Limited announced today that its "portfolio company", National Med Care Ltd, a Salt Lake City Utah, based pharmaceutical marketing firm has entered into an agreement with Taking You Forward Inc., a Cebu Philippines based BPO firm to form a joint venture for the marketing of its compound pharmaceutical products in the United States. [More]
New study finds highest rates of decline in prescription drug misuse nationwide

New study finds highest rates of decline in prescription drug misuse nationwide

Five states that have implemented multi-faceted prescription drug abuse prevention programs in recent years showed the highest rate of decline in prescription drug misuse rates nationwide, according to a new study issued today by Quest Diagnostics, the world's leading provider of diagnostic information services. [More]
Viewpoints: Lower health spending is welcome news; media bias against health law success

Viewpoints: Lower health spending is welcome news; media bias against health law success

The last few years have seen a puzzling and welcome new trend in health care spending: Instead of going up and up, increases have slowed way down. [More]
Prevalence of potentially inappropriate prescribing and prescribing omissions in older adults examined by new study from RCSI

Prevalence of potentially inappropriate prescribing and prescribing omissions in older adults examined by new study from RCSI

A new study from RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) and Trinity College Dublin, which examined the prevalence of potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) and prescribing omissions in older Irish adults, has found that 14% of people over the age of 65 has been prescribed at least one inappropriate form of medication in their lives and 30% have not been prescribed clinically indicated medications, at least once in their lives. The [More]
Hospitals, consumer groups object to Medicare rule on observation care

Hospitals, consumer groups object to Medicare rule on observation care

They say the government's effort to set rules for when someone is considered an admitted patient compromises care and still leaves many seniors with costly bills. In other Medicare news, a look at the unraveling of one scam and coverage of sex-reassignment surgery. [More]