Good morning. One heartwarming story from last week's horrible weather: A pharmacist in Michigan delivered prescriptions via snowmobile to customers who were stuck at home, the Detroit Free Press reports.
There's a lot of buzz about adding "transparency" to prescription drug prices, but that alone is unlikely to lower prices.
The big picture: Although more information is undoubtedly important, something has to be done with that information to actually get costs down.
We usually don't know how much insurance plans end up paying for most drugs, and we don't know how much of a cut the system's middlemen keep for themselves.
The bottom line: "Transparency can help the public and policy makers make more informed decisions about what to do about high drug prices — who to target, what policies to put in place, etc," said Walid Gellad, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh. "Just the transparency alone is unlikely to lower prices."
Wall Street panicked a little after the Trump administration rolled out its drug rebate proposal, but the stock prices of companies most at risk recovered because there’s still so much uncertainty about how the policy would change their businesses, my colleague Bob Herman reports.
The big picture: The proposal would bar pharmacy benefit managers and insurers from accepting rebates from drug companies in Medicare and Medicaid under anti-kickback law. Instead, the two sides could work out fixed-fee arrangements, with rebates flowing directly from manufacturers to patients at the pharmacy counter.
Yes, but: The rule...
One thing that is pretty certain: Pharma wins. There’s no mandate to lower list prices, and drug companies would get to see competitors' rebates.
Millennials are facing a much higher risk of obesity-related cancers than the baby boomer generation did at their age, according to a new study in The Lancet Public Health.
Why it matters: "The change in cancer trends among young adults is often considered as a bellwether for future disease burden," study author Hyuna Sung told Eileen.
Reducing prescription opioid misuse will only moderately lower the number of opioid overdose deaths over the next few years, a new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association found.
By the numbers: The study projected that under the status quo, opioid overdose deaths would rise from 33,100 in 2015 to 81,700 in 2025.
My thought bubble: As depressing as this is, it checks out. The opioid epidemic has evolved from being mostly about prescription opioids to being driven by heroin and fentanyl, which are much more potent than drugs like OxyContin.
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