Good morning. Thank you to everyone who gave me credit on Friday for my colleague Bob Herman's witty headline about fee-for-service (FFS).
Today's word count is 769, or ~3 minutes.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The market designed to create competition for biologics — typically our most expensive drugs — has been slow to take off, but some experts say that even its best-case scenario doesn't do enough to lower drug prices.
Why it matters: The argument is reflected in the political divide over whether enhanced drug competition or price regulation is the best way to address drug prices.
The big picture: Congress created the pathway for biosimilars to come to market knowing that they'd look different than small-molecule generics, and even their most ardent supporters say biosimilars will never achieve the steep discounts that generics do.
Yes, but: Some experts argue that that's not enough, and that biosimilars aren't the best way to control biologic prices.
The other side: Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote an editorial in the WSJ yesterday in response, arguing that Congress should speed up the use and development of biosimilars instead of regulating prices.
The bottom line: This argument isn't just for the academics. The leading Democratic presidential candidates are also arguing for drug price regulation, a major shift left for the party.
An Oklahoma judge is expected to rule today whether Johnson & Johnson can be held responsible for the state's opioid epidemic, which could have major implications for other lawsuits across the country, CNBC reports.
The Drug Enforcement Administration applied the same label to another company, Mallinckrodt, saying in 2010 that the agency viewed it "as the kingpin within the prescription drug cartel," the Wall Street Journal reports.
Photo: Alastair Pike/AFP/Getty Images
The CDC, state health officials and the Food and Drug Administration are investigating 193 potential cases of a lung-related illness possibly linked to vaping, the CDC said on Friday.
The latest: In Illinois, 1 of those cases was fatal, my colleague Orion Rummler reports.
Details: Investigators have not identified a specific product or compound that is linked to all confirmed cases, per the CDC, and there is no evidence that an infectious disease is the culprit of the illnesses.
My thought bubble: This is bad news for vapers and bad news for Juul. The company has tried to pitch itself as an overall positive force for public health. Critics say it is responsible for the rise in youth vaping.
Among patients with chronic illnesses, those with a mental health disorder cost nearly twice as much as those without one, according to a new study in JAMA Network Open.
By the numbers: Over a 3-year period, chronic disease patients without a mental illness cost, on average, $22,280, while those with a mental illness cost $38,250.
Why it matters: "Our findings raise questions about optimizing the management of mental health disorders in patients with chronic disease," the authors write.