Good morning. I hope you enjoyed your weekend.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar with President Trump. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
The Trump administration's proposal to shake up how money moves through the prescription drug supply chain in Medicare works best if it's also extended to the commercial market, supporters say.
Yes, but: The politics of the proposal will almost certainly prevent this from happening. Opponents say the change is a handout to pharmaceutical companies and would increase premiums.
The big picture: The Trump administration has proposed eliminating in Medicare Part D the rebates that drug companies pay to pharmacy benefit managers in exchange for preferred formulary placement.
The administration doesn't have the authority to extend the rule into the private market, leaving the decision with Congress. But supporters say doing so not only would help patients, but would create a stronger incentive for drug companies to lower their list prices.
Yes, but: The independent Congressional Budget Office estimated that the administration's proposal — which is limited to Part D — would cost the federal government $177 billion over 10 years, an eye-popping price tag that is giving members of Congress pause.
What they're saying: Drug companies have said publicly that they're more likely to lower list prices if the proposal extends to the commercial market.
The big picture: The business of memory supplements — from branded regimens to vitamins — pulled in $3.2 billion globally in 2016.
The FDA gave the OK last week for Pfizer's blood thinner Fragmin to be used in children. But Fragmin is not new — it has been on the market for adults since 1994, my colleague Bob Herman reports.
Why it matters: This is another case of an older drug getting broader approval with limited evidence.
Between the lines: Fragmin is a relatively small medication for Pfizer, generating $293 million in sales in 2018, down from when sales were about $382 million in 2011. But getting an expanded approval will immediately create a return for Pfizer because the drug is still the same product — now with a bigger population to treat.
Go deeper: "Almost half of all new drug approvals in 2018 relied on one clinical trial," Zachary Brennan of RAPS Regulatory Focus reports.
Genetic testing is advancing and evolving so quickly that it's causing chaos for some patients, WSJ reports.
Why it matters: Genetic testing and the medical breakthroughs it's led to are good things. But the WSJ's reporting highlights that actually living through these rapid scientific advances can be challenging and emotional.
Details: Commercial testing spiked after scientists successfully sequenced the human genome in 2003. A study last year found that there are about 75,000 genetic tests that are used by doctors on the market.
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