News & Views: 3/16 - 3/22

March 23, 2021

The Senate has confirmed Xavier Becerra as the new HHS Secretary.

Secretary Becerra was confirmed after a contentious confirmation process that ended in a 50-49 vote, primarily along party lines. While managing the pandemic will Becerra’s first primary task, throughout his confirmation process he repeatedly stated his desire to work with President Biden to build upon the ACA and lower drug prices. To review the entire article, click here.

A federal Indiana court filed a preliminary injection on the 340B administrative dispute resolution (ADR) process.

The court ruled in favor of Eli Lilly’s request to wait as their own lawsuit on how the final rule that created the ADR process in question was finalized proceeds. The decision was partially due to former President Trump’s rushed rulemaking process in which he violated rulemaking rules. During the rulemaking process, the Trump administration had stated they withdrew the proposed rules, but then proceeded to publish the final rules, therefore circumventing the rulemaking process. Representatives from 340B Health are continuing to urge HHS to use their existing authority to enforce manufacturers to give contract pharmacies340B discounts without using the ADR altogether. To read the full article, click here.

  • This ruling could also impact the ongoing rebate rule lawsuit that was left behind from the Trump administration. To read the entire article, click here.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has created a multilateral working group to monitor drug industry mergers more aggressively.

The FTC has chosen to work with the Canadian Competition Bureau, the European Commission Directorate General for Competition, the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority, the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division, and Offices of State Attorneys General to find a new way to ensure effective enforcement of competition behavior in crucial markets. The working group will start to analyze pharmaceutical mergers to address concerns within the existing review process. The Acting Chairwoman of the FTC, Rebecca Slaughter stated that if this review of pharmaceutical mergers goes well, they will consider applying it to other industries as well. To read the FTC press release, click here.

Washington state passed legislation to be the second state able to distribute its own generic prescription drugs.

Following behind California, Washington state programs will be able to buy generic medications and insulin from other state agencies and nonprofits. The bill encourages Washington to partner with California once California begins producing their own drugs to alleviate the strain drugs cause on the state budget. To read the entire article on the legislation, click here.

Families USA conducted a survey on what voters want Congress and President Biden to prioritize.

The survey found that 72% of voters believe it is very important for Congress and the administration to work to lower prescription drug prices. Drugs prices are the most urgent concern reported in the survey findings and was seen across party lines. To review the survey findings, click here.

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