The Daily Scan

June 20, 2018

Last Updated: 12:15 PM EST

Litigation

  • U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced yesterday that a Philadelphia personal injury law firm, Rosenbaum & Associates, and its principal, Jeffrey Rosenbaum, Esq., have entered into a settlement agreement with the United States to resolve allegations that they failed to reimburse the United States for certain Medicare payments the government had previously made to medical providers on behalf of firm clients who sought medical care. (Justice.gov)

Regulation

  • CMS Administrator Seema Verma released an official statement yesterday afternoon commenting on the DOL's final rule on the regulation of Association/Small Business Health Plans: “The Trump Administration took important steps today to help small business employees and their families, who were left out of Obamacare, gain access to higher quality, more affordable health coverage. The number of small businesses that offer health coverage has been declining for years and Obamacare did nothing to reverse this trend. The rule released today levels the playing field between small and large employers by providing new opportunities for small employers to band together to gain the same health insurance options as large employers. Association Health Plans will provide broader access to better health coverage for small business employees and their families. We are pleased to partner with the Department of Labor in this important work.” (CMS.gov)

 

  • HHS Secretary Alex Azar issued the following statement regarding the DOL’s release of a final rule on the regulation of Association/Small Business Health Plans: “This action by the Trump Administration will give more Americans access to affordable, high-quality health insurance coverage. Allowing small businesses and individuals to band together to offer new options is especially important because access to health insurance for employees of small businesses has narrowed over the years, including under the Affordable Care Act. We look forward to leading continued work across the Trump Administration to open up more options for affordable, accessible, private health coverage.” (HHS.gov)

 

  • The FDA released an official statement yesterday from Douglas Throckmorton, M.D., deputy center director for regulatory programs in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, on the agency’s response to ongoing drug shortages for critical products: "The FDA’s role is focused on working with manufacturers, using all of our authorities to help prevent and mitigate drug shortages of medically necessary products used to prevent or treat a serious or life-threatening disease or medical condition." (FDA.gov)

Private Sector

  • CVS Pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Health, yesterday announced that prescription delivery is now available from CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide. Customers who wish to have their medications delivered directly to their mailbox, as quickly as the next day, can now request prescription delivery via the CVS Pharmacy app or by calling their neighborhood store and asking to have their prescriptions delivered. CVS Pharmacy is the first national retailer to offer pharmacy and front store delivery chain-wide. (CVSHealth.com)

 

  • Facebook users seeking to illegally buy opioids or to find treatment for an addiction will be met with a new feature offering the federal government’s national helpline, the company said yesterday. The feature was planned in coordination with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and in consultation with Facing Addiction, an addiction advocacy nonprofit. (TheHill.com)

 

  • The proposed merger of the pharmacy chain CVS and insurance company Aetna would harm competition, lead to higher drug spending and out-of-pocket spending, and should be blocked, AMA President Barbara L. McAneny, MD, said yesterday. “After very careful consideration over the past months, the AMA has come to the conclusion that this merger would likely substantially lessen competition in many health care markets, to the detriment of patients,” Dr. McAneny said. “The AMA is now convinced that the proposed CVS-Aetna merger should be blocked.” The AMA’s view is based on evidence that the merger would likely lead to a substantial rise in market concentration in 88% of Medicare Part D regional markets—30 out of 34—which would result in higher drug spending and patients spending more out of pocket for their prescriptions. (AMA-Assn.org)

 

  • Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase announced today the next step in their partnership on U.S. employee healthcare with the appointment of Dr. Atul Gawande as its Chief Executive Officer, effective July 9. The new company will be headquartered in Boston and will operate as an independent entity that is free from profit-making incentives and constraints. “We said at the outset that the degree of difficulty is high and success is going to require an expert’s knowledge, a beginner’s mind, and a long-term orientation,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. “Atul embodies all three, and we’re starting strong as we move forward in this challenging and worthwhile endeavor.” (BusinessWire.com)

 

  • Purdue Pharma, the company that manufactures the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, laid off its entire sales force Tuesday, effectively ending an era for the drug that at one point was a top-seller and became synonymous with the nation’s opioid crisis. Purdue had already laid off half of its approximately 600 sales reps back in February, when it announced that it would no longer be promoting OxyContin to doctors. But on Tuesday, Purdue Pharma confirmed to VICE News that it had effectively finished the job — axing the remaining roughly 220 in its sales force. (News.Vice.com)

 

 

 

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