News & Views: 3/9 - 3/15

March 16, 2021

HHS has delayed the Trump administration insulin and epinephrine rule for another four months.

President Biden initially delayed the rule for 60 days when he first took office, but the 60 days come to an end later this month (March 22). The administration has stated that they need more time to review the rule before making a final decision. The rule requires health clinics to pass their 340B discounts to patients for insulin and epinephrine prescriptions. To read the full article, click here.

  • Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine discussed the implications of the rule if it were to be law in a JAMA forum here.

Senate Democrats delayed the removal of the Medicaid drug rebate cap in the COVID-19 relief package.

The ban was initially set to go into effect in 2023, as passed by the House, but Senate Democrats pushed the ban to 2024. Drug makers had attempted to delay the ban three additional years to 2026, while Republican policymakers attempted to remove the provisional together. Currently there is a rebate cap at 100% of the average manufacturer price (AMP), but in 2024 manufacturers may have to pay Medicaid more than the cost of the drug. To read the entire article, click here.

Senator Cassidy’s (R-LA) Ensuring Innovation Act passed through the Senate and is set to be voted on by the House this week.

According to Senator Cassidy’s release on the bill, it is intended to lower prescription drug costs by clarifying what true innovation worthy of exclusivity is compared to brand manufacturers gaming the patent system. The legislation will codify the FDA’s existing “active moiety” approach to granting NCE exclusivity to prevent generics from being kept off market. To read the Ensuring Innovation Act, click here.

  • To read Senator Cassidy’s press release on the bill, click here.

Researchers from the University of Utah examined the trends in payments for neurologist-prescribed drugs in Medicare Part D.

The study found that the number of claims for neurologist-prescribed medications increased by 7.6% from 2013-2017, yet the total payments increased by 50.4%. Researchers concluded that brand name drugs in Part D have consistently increased fastest than the rate of inflation from 2013-2017. They argued that this consistent increase in branded neurological prescription costs in Part D needs to be reversed, as it is already causing significant strain to the neurological Medicare budget. To review the entire study, click here.

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