News & Views: 1/26 - 2/1

February 2, 2021

The Biden administration has delayed former President Trump’s drug rebate rule.

The rule was initially delayed for 60 days, but while under review, HHS has decided to postpone the rule by one year. The final rule was set to go into effect on January 1, 2022 but has now been pushed to January 1, 2023. The rule was also delayed by District Court Judge John Bates, who gave the administration until April 1st to decide if they will continue to defend to rule. The delay gives the Biden administration more time to review the rule which the CBO had previously estimated would increase government spending by $177 billion over a ten-year period. To read the entire article, click here.

Several states have begun to set the groundwork to import expensive drugs from Canada.

President Biden has not indicated whether or not he now supports the importation of drugs from Canada by states but did support the concept while running for office. It is unlikely anything will happen to the states that have started working towards importation, as the HHS Secretary needs to give states their approval and Biden’s nominee Xavier Becerra previously voted against the 2003 Canadian drug importation law. To read the entire article, click here.

  • A federal judge granted the administration 60 days to respond to the PhRMA lawsuit against the rule. To read about the ruling, click here.

Five states have introduced Canadian drug price reference bills so far in 2021.

The bills would impact the 250 most expensive drugs by capping prices at the cheapest available rate found in Canada’s four largest provinces. The bills would only effect commercial payers, Medicare Advantage plans, and the uninsured. A representative of the National Academy of State Health Policy (NASHP) indicated that many more states are still considering similar bills. A PhRMA spokesperson argued that these bills will negativity impact access to drugs, as Canada typically get access to new drugs 14 months after the United States. To read the full article, click here.

The RAND Corporation released a new report that compared prescription drug prices in the United States to 32 other nations.

The report found that, on average, drug prices are 2.56 times greater in the US than in the other countries examined. When drugs were divided by brand name and generics, they found that brand-name drugs were 3.44 times more expensive in the US than in other countries, but generics were slightly less expensive in the US. The report also estimated $795 billion in total drug spending across all of the countries assessed, of which the United States accounted for 58% of(although only 24% of the volume). The analysis used 2018 data to compare drug prices in the US to the 32 OECD countries. To read the full report, click here.

  • To read the press release, click here.

CIDSA expert Rena Conti, along with researchers from Altarum and PHC Health Policy, published their analysis of the national health expenditures projections of US prescription drug spending on the JAMA Health Forum.

The researchers identified the two most significant factors that drive drug spending growth to be new drugs and the expanded use of existing, high-price drugs. The article encourages lawmakers to continue their effort to increase transparency and reduce prescription drug spending by detailing two possible reforms: (1) reduce pay-for-delay deals and (2) reduce revenues of clinics and hospitals from the use of high-priced drugs.  To read the entire article, click here.

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