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CMS will allow MA plans to implement step-therapy requirements for Part B drugs

August 13, 2018

Under a new CMS policy, Medicare Advantage plans beginning Jan. 1, 2019, will be able to implement step-therapy requirements for prescription drugs administered to beneficiaries at physician offices or hospitals—and President Trump says his administration soon will announce more policies intended to lower prescription drug prices.

FDA issues guidance to close orphan drug loophole

August 3, 2018

FDA in final guidance aims to close a regulatory loophole that the agency says allowed some drugmakers to receive an orphan drug designation for drugs that treat diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 pediatric patients without conducting research on how the drugs work in pediatric populations.

DOJ is investigating drugmakers' alleged connections with terrorist group

August 2, 2018

The Department of Justice is looking into allegations that major pharmaceutical and medical device companies had unlawful connections to terrorist groups in Iraq, though the drugmakers claim that their dealings with the group were backed by the U.S. government.

GSK is investing $300M in 23andMe. What does that mean for your DNA data?

August 1, 2018

The pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline will invest $300 million in the genetic testing company 23andMe under a partnership focused on researching and developing medical treatments using de-identified DNA data—but some experts are raising patient consent concerns.

FDA's cautioned against epidural steroid injections, but doctors are prescribing it anyway

August 1, 2018

As fewer physicians prescribe opioids, a growing number of patients are being prescribed an injectable anti-inflammatory drug to treat their back pain—despite the drug's manufacturer warning against injecting the drug along the spine.

Two states are looking to restructure exchange coverage. Here's how.

July 30, 2018

Alabama and Illinois so far are the only two states that have indicated they will seek CMS' permission to redefine the essential health benefits individual and small-group insurers in the states must cover for the 2020 coverage year, and the states appear to be approaching the changes in drastically different ways.

The strange case of the antibiotic-resistant leech bacteria—and why it matters for the future of medicine. (Really.)

July 30, 2018

A new paper in mBio details a mysterious strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that emerged inside medical leeches' guts, causing some leech-treated patients to develop dangerous infections.

Weekly Line: Rx prices are grabbing headlines—but should we really be focused on hospital prices?

July 27, 2018

Pharmaceutical companies are once again making headlines, this time for announcing price freezes or decreases for their U.S. products.

House votes to delay ACA's health insurance tax, expand HSAs

July 27, 2018

Bills that would the Affordable Care Act's health insurance tax and expand the ways U.S. residents can use health savings accounts now head to the Senate, but Senate leaders have not indicated whether they plan to vote on the measures.

Senate panel approves bill to ban pharmacy 'gag clauses' in exchange plans

July 27, 2018

The bill would prohibit health plans sold on the Affordable Care Act's exchanges from including so-called pharmacy "gag clauses," which prevent pharmacies from proactively informing customers that they would save on a prescription drug by paying for it out of pocket rather than by using their insurance.

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