FDA moves to prevent Pharma from ‘gaming’ generic drug system

Reuters, 21 June 2017
Author: Toni Clarke
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration moved on Wednesday to prevent pharmaceutical companies from “gaming” the system to block or delay entry of generic rivals. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a blog post that the agency plans to hold a public meeting on July 18 to identify ways pharmaceutical companies are using FDA rules to place obstacles in the way of generic competition. The move comes as the President and lawmakers in Congress search for ways to lower the cost of prescription drugs.”
Find article here.

Legislature passes bill to rein in drug company perks for doctors

Press Herald, 20 June 2017
Author: Joe Lawlor
“A bill that would curtail gifts, speaking and consulting fees and expensive food flowing from pharmaceutical companies to doctors has passed the Legislature and awaits the signature of Gov. Paul LePage. the goal of the bill is to ensure doctors do not have conflicting interests when prescribing drugs – especially opioids – since Maine is in the midst of an opioid crisis. Maine had 376 drug overdose deaths in 2016 – an average of about one per day – an all-time high and 40 percent higher than in 2015.”
Find article here.

Challenges To Reducing Discrimination And Health Inequity Through Existing Civil Rights Laws

Health Aff 2017 vol. 36 no. 6 1041-1047
Authors: Amitabh Chandra, Michael Frakes, Anup Malani
“More than fifty years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, health care for racial and ethnic minorities remains in many ways separate and unequal in the United States. Moreover, efforts to improve minority health care face challenges that differ from those confronted during de jure segregation. We review these challenges and examine whether stronger enforcement of existing civil rights legislation could help overcome them.”
Find article here.

Michigan Case Adds U.S. Dimension to Debate on Genital Mutilation

NYT, 10 June 2017
Author: Pam Belluck
“As more details emerge about the first-ever charges of female genital mutilation in the United States, the case is opening a window onto a small immigrant community, while stirring impassioned discussion about genital cutting among women who have experienced it.”
Find article here.

Nursing Home Certificate-Of-Need Laws Should Be Repealed

Health Affairs Blog, 9 June 2017
Author: David Grabowski
“Despite evidence against them, 34 states still have certificate-of-need laws on the books. One reason why states have maintained these laws is their incredible popularity with nursing homes. If a system is lucky enough to have a regulated monopoly, it will not give that monopoly up easily. Nursing homes have argued that certificate of need allows them to keep sufficient occupancy levels to cover their costs. This guaranteed occupancy is a boon for nursing homes, but hurts consumers. If a nursing home cannot maintain sufficient occupancy without certificate of need, it is likely a sign that the nursing home is not providing adequate quality.”
Find article here.

Health and Public Policy to Facilitate Effective Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders Involving Illicit and Prescription Drugs: An American College of Physicians Position Paper

Ann Intern Med. 2017;166(10):733-736.
Authors: Ryan Crowley, Neil Kirschner, Andrew S. Dunn, Sue S. Bornstein
“Substance use disorders involving illicit and prescription drugs are a serious public health issue. In the United States, millions of individuals need treatment for substance use disorders but few receive it. The rising number of drug overdose deaths and the changing legal status of marijuana pose new challenges. In this position paper, the American College of Physicians maintains that substance use disorder is a treatable chronic medical condition and offers recommendations on expanding treatment options, the legal status of marijuana, addressing the opioid epidemic, insurance coverage of substance use disorders treatment, education and workforce, and public health interventions.”
Find article here.

Ohio Sues 5 Major Drug Companies For ‘Fueling Opioid Epidemic’

NPR, 31 May 2017
Author: Colin Dwyer
“The state of Ohio has sued five major drug manufacturers for their role in the opioid epidemic. In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, state Attorney General Mike DeWine alleges these five companies “helped unleash a health care crisis that has had far-reaching financial, social, and deadly consequences in the State of Ohio.”
Find article here.

Trump Seeks Delay of Ruling on Health Law Subsidies, Prolonging Uncertainty

NYT, 22 May 2017
Author: Robert Pear
“The Trump administration asked a federal appeals court on Monday to delay ruling on a lawsuit that could determine whether the government will continue paying subsidies under the Affordable Care Act to health insurance companies for the benefit of low-income people — effectively prolonging uncertainty that is already rattling the health law.”
Find article here.