ACHP Media Monitoring Report: November 7, 2016

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Slavitt calls for lower prices in speech to drug industry
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt challenged the rapidly rising cost of drugs last Thursday in a speech to the Biopharma Congress in Washington, D.C. In his remarks, Slavitt laments bad actors have come to define the prescription drug business and urges companies to work with CMS and other organizations to keep costs down. He remains optimistic a solution can be found, but believes pharmaceutical companies need to do more to ensure drugs are priced fairly, according to Mary Ellen McIntire of Morning Consult.

 Guide to the election’s effect on health care policy
Tomorrow’s election is likely to affect the health care industry due to a number of ballot initiatives and potential changes in state officials across the country. Modern Healthcare has published an online guide breaking down the status of key races in the health care industry. As election results come in, the tool will provide updates on gubernatorial, statehouse and initiative races.

Startup developing affordable hepatitis C treatment
A few industry veterans have developed a pharmaceutical company that puts access before profit. The founders of the startup Trek Therapeutics are on a mission to create an affordable, effective treatment for hepatitis C. The company is structured as a public benefit corporation, which requires equal consideration of public welfare and the bottom line. Trek is aiming to introduce a medicine to market in 2020. Carolyn Y. Johnson at The Washington Post has the story.

Paramedics bringing care to patients
Community paramedic practices, which treat patients in their homes instead of the hospital, are popping up nationwide. Paula Span of The New York Times shares the hospital is often not the safest option for older individuals, as they are susceptible to infection and can become weaker from time spent in bed. Some paramedic programs are negotiating with insurers for reimbursement of at-home care.

Medical interns may work longer hours
The group responsible for setting rules for medical residents is considering extending shift limits for interns to up to 28 hours. Historically medical interns have been restricted to 16-hour workdays to minimize mistakes due to fatigue. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education views longer shifts as a more realistic work experience. Rob Stein at NPR reports.

Blog Review

Our weekly Blog Review features insightful posts from around the web and keeps an eye on medical industry and health news via the Trend Watch. This week we review posts discussing development and cost of hepatitis C drugs. This week’s Trend Watch compiles posts considering the effects of the Affordable Care Act.

Hepatitis C Treatment

Gilead’s Q3 Bombshell: No More Hepatitis C R&D
Motley Fool
Research firm E.B. Capital Markets Owner Todd Campbell shares Gilead Sciences plans to invest fewer resources in the research and development of hepatitis C drugs due to increased competition and fewer patients. According to Campbell, the decision could have major effects on the market, giving other pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to gain shares.

The Cost of a Cure: Revisiting Medicare Part D and Hepatitis C Drugs
Health Affairs
The spending surge for hepatitis C drugs may subside in the near future, as about half of Medicare beneficiaries with the disease will have been treated between 2013 and 2016. However the cost of drugs has significantly increased Part D spending, driving up costs for beneficiaries prescribed the medications, according to Georgetown University Health Policy Institute Professor Jack Hoadley, PhD, Kaiser Family Foundation Senior Vice President Tricia Neuman and Kaiser Family Foundation Associate Director Juliette Cubanski, PhD, MPP, MPH.

Trend Watch

Affordable Care Act

The Impact of Obamacare, in Four Maps
The Upshot
New York Times Domestic Correspondent Margo Sanger-Katz and Graphics Editor Quoctrung Bui provide a series of maps and charts illustrating the Affordable Care Act’s effect on uninsured rates. The graphics highlight a precipitous drop in the uninsured rate across the nation, especially in states that have expanded Medicaid.

“I Have Heard it Pronounced Dead Hundreds of Times”: Jason Furman on the Future of Obamacare
Vox
In an interview with Vox Senior Editor Sarah Kliff, Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors Jason Furman challenges assertions the Affordable Care Act is failing. Furman characterizes double-digit price hikes as a one-time course correction by insurers and claims the structure of the exchanges prevents them from collapsing.