Good morning! Today's word count is 792 words, ~3 minutes.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Congress isn't feeling much urgency to help the fledgling market for biosimilars.
Why it matters: Advocates say they need lawmakers' help soon, or else drugmakers will see biosimilars as a lost cause and the system will lose its only check on the cost of biologics.
Where it stands: Congress' ideas to enhance competition among traditional generics wouldn't do much for biosimilars — less than a dozen of which are on the market.
What they're saying: Both groups want Congress to alter Medicare's financial incentives to help bolster biosimilars. Davis' group also wants it to speed up patent lawsuits.
The other side: "It's unclear that anything actually needs to be done on biosimilars as the law is still in its nascent stages," said a senior GOP aide working on drug prices.
Where it stands: The Senate health committee recently proposed accelerating the biosimilar approval process. Sens. John Barrasso and Sherrod Brown also said they'll have bills coming soon.
Yes, but: "I guess the answer ought to be yes. But I don’t know all of the issues yet," Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said when asked about increasing biosimilar competition.
Go deeper: How cheaper drugs are kept off the market
On a related note, Grassley said last week that he is interested in restructuring Medicare's prescription drug benefit, including putting drug manufacturers on the hook for some of the costs accrued in the "catastrophic phase" of coverage.
A new analysis by the American Action Forum shows the winners and losers: Cheaper drugs would win, and more expensive drugs would end up paying more than they do now.
Details: The maximum rebate for any given drug in 2020 is about $3,700.
My thought bubble: Pharma is going to hate this, especially if it puts the industry as a whole on the hook for greater discounts.
White House officials are finalizing a handful of health care regulations, which means the rules will be released in short order, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
The bottom line: These rules represent some of the biggest changes to the health care industry under the Trump administration.
What we're watching:
What they're saying: "You can concoct this bogus appearance of science, call it a clinical study, recruit people to pay to participate in your study, and not only that: You can actually register on clinicaltrials.gov and have the federal government help you promote what you’re doing," University of Minnesota bioethicist Leigh Turner told Stat.
States that have legalized medical marijuana have seen more opioid overdose deaths, according to a new study reported on by Vox — the opposite of what a 2014 study found.
The bottom line: The researchers who conducted the study say that there's probably no relationship between state marijuana laws and opioid deaths.