Good morning, and welcome back from the long weekend. If you're in D.C., I hope you didn't get windburn.
There were half as many brand-name drug price increases in 2018 as in 2015, but that 4-year period saw more than 10,000 price hikes overall, my colleague Bob Herman reports.
Details: Several companies still raised list prices frequently and at rates well above inflation, and many medications that saw higher prices had already lost patent protection or are nearing a patent expiration.
Marketing of opioids to doctors was associated with increased opioid prescribing and increased overdose deaths between 2013 and 2015, according to a new report posted in JAMA on Friday.
Why it matters: Opioid manufacturers are being sued — along with drug distributors and pharmacies — for their role in creating the opioid epidemic. A case brought by municipalities across the country is currently pending in an Ohio district court.
The other side: "In February 2018, Purdue ended promotion of opioids to physicians, and the last of the company’s promotional speaker programs concluded in 2017," Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, said in a statement.
Turns out the Trump administration's big ACA regulation packs a bit more punch than we realized at first. Some of the rule's technical changes will end up requiring people to pay more for their coverage, while rolling back the cost of federal premium subsidies, my colleague Sam Baker reports.
How it works: People who get a subsidy under the ACA have to pay a certain percentage of their income for insurance premiums; the government picks up the rest.
The same change would also slightly loosen limits on out-of-pocket costs.
The Trump administration's rule requiring hospitals to make their list prices publicly available has so far been pretty useless for patients, as the New York Times reported last weekend. But a new op-ed by Elisabeth Rosenthal — also in the NYT — argues that this rule could end up being a "game-changer."
My thought bubble: Rosenthal is the editor of Kaiser Health News and author of “An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back.” When it comes to health care costs, take her opinion seriously.
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