News & Views: 12/21 - 1/3

January 5, 2022

Senator Manchin announced that he does not support the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) ahead of the holiday recess.

Sen. Manchin came out in opposition against various provisions in the BBBA, including tax changes and climate proposals. While Sen. Manchin has been supportive of the health and drug pricing proposals, he is concerned about the sheer size of the $2 trillion bill. Continued negotiations between President Biden and Sen. Manchin are expected to restart after the Senate debates voting rights legislation and rules reform. Sen. Manchin has stated that there are no negotiations surrounding BBBA going on right now. To read more, click here and here.

CMS rescinded the Trump administration’s Most Favored Nation Model rule.

The rule was intended to lower drug costs by pricing Part B drugs at no higher than the lowest price paid in similar countries. The rule was introduced at the end of the Trump administration and has subsequently been the subject of multiple lawsuits. Drug pricing legislation currently under consideration focuses on setting prices to what the Veterans Affairs pays rather than an international model. To read the full Federal Register notice, click here.

A group of over 800 hospitals urged Secretary Becerra to appeal most recent 340B lawsuit ruling.

In the latest development of the 340B lawsuits, a group of hospitals are asking Secretary Becerra to appeal the federal court decision that would allow manufacturers to limit discounts given to community pharmacies in the program. To read the letter, click here.

Biogen announced they plan to cut the annual price of their new Alzheimer’s drug in half.

Aduhelm, Biogen’s controversial Alzheimer’s drug, was initially priced at $56,000 a year and will now cost $28,000. Even though the drug, which has little to no evidence of improved health outcomes, is not yet covered by Medicare, it was the cause for nearly half of the significant Part B premium increase for 2022. Senators Wyden and Sanders have both stated that in light of this price cut there is even less justification for the premium increase. To read more, click here.

CIDSA Experts in the News

Rena Conti, Richard Frank, and their colleague examined how commercial insurance plans would fare under the proposed prescription drug regulations in a JAMA Viewpoint. The authors discuss possible outcomes of only allowing for Medicare negotiation in the Medicare program in two scenarios, one related to drugs that are already available and the other related to future drugs. All of the scenarios result in the same conclusion, which is that negotiation must be extended to the commercial market to avoid pharmaceutical industry exploitation. To read the full article, click here.

Stacie Dusetzina and her colleague wrote invited commentary on a JAMA study that analyzed the cost of medications for older adults with multiple chronic conditions. The original study examined the out-of-pocket costs that older adults are experiencing and found that while costs are down from before Medicare offered prescription drug plans, they are up 41% since 2009. To read the full commentary and original study, click here and here, respectively.

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