Situational awareness: A bill that authorizes $20 million annually over the next 5 years to help with Alzheimer's caregiving, early detection and education is headed to the president's desk.
Oxycodone. Photo: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images
An Ohio district court judge's procedural ruling in the national opioids lawsuit Wednesday has big implications — because it could open up opioid makers, drug distributors and others to face serious charges in court.
Why it matters: Yesterday's ruling, in which the judge denied health care companies' motion to dismiss the lawsuit, may increase the amount of money at stake, which would go toward the fallout from the epidemic.
While the judge sustained nearly all of the legal theories on which the plaintiffs are suing the opioid companies, 2 are particularly important, according to Joe Rice, one of the plaintiff's lead attorneys.
We don't know yet whether this case will go to trial or whether the parties will eventually settle. But the seriousness of the charges will inevitably affect that calculation.
Movement on a giant court case wasn't the end of yesterday's opioid updates.
The industry received slightly better news regarding the opioid lawsuits that are pending in New York over the state's new opioid tax.
HHS released guidance yesterday recommending when naloxone — which reverses opioid overdoses — should be prescribed to patients at risk for opioid complications.
An Energy and Commerce Committee report "revealed systemic failures by both distributors and the DEA that contributed to — and failed to abate — the opioid crisis in West Virginia," chairman Greg Walden said.
Nearly 30 drugmakers have taken steps to raise the price of their drugs in January, Reuters reports.
For example: Novartis plans to raise prices on more than 100 indications of over 30 different drugs. These include a multiple sclerosis drug, an arthritis treatment and a leukemia treatment.
Our thought bubble: This isn't surprising. At this point, no one should think that drug companies are going to voluntarily stop raising list prices.
The Affordable Care Act's open enrollment period for 2019 is over, and almost 8.5 million people signed up for health insurance in the 39 states using the federal HealthCare.gov website, CMS announced yesterday.
One reason that signups may be relatively stable despite the Trump administration's changes is that most of the people who were already signed up want health insurance, and receive the federal assistance they need to pay for it.
Americans are not getting taller, but they are gaining more weight, according to new CDC data.
The bottom line: Obesity is more complicated than eating habits or exercise, Bob notes. But research has shown that gaining weight over time makes people more susceptible to other health risks like diabetes or heart disease.
Have a great Thursday!