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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Adding more transparency to the health care system's secretive pricing structure is a bipartisan idea that's gotten a lot of interest in Congress and from the Trump administration.
Yes, but: Some experts say transparency alone probably won't do much to lower costs, and could even end up backfiring.
Driving the news: The Trump administration is expected to soon release an executive order mandating the disclosure of health care prices, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
What they're saying: Critics argue that the industry's secretive pricing practices support its own bottom line at patients' expense, and causes wild discrepancies in what the same service costs in different places.
The other side: More transparency could still end up being relatively useless for patients, experts said.
Transparency could even lead to higher prices, as providers see what their competitors are getting.
The bottom line: At the least, more pricing information could help empower future policymakers.
The Oklahoma attorney general announced an $85 million settlement with Teva Pharmaceuticals over the weekend. Purdue Pharma got out of the Oklahoma opioids case by agreeing to a $270 million settlement in March.
Why it matters: Oklahoma is seeking $17 billion in damages over a crisis that has killed thousands of Americans, and if the state wins, it spells trouble of historic proportions for all of the various companies that are part of the consolidated national lawsuit in Ohio.
Who we're watching: Judge Thad Balkman, who will rule on the case after hearing 8 weeks of arguments.
The FDA on Friday approved Zolgensma, a gene replacement therapy from Novartis that treats spinal muscular atrophy, for use in children younger than 2, Bob writes.
Why it matters: The treatment attacks a debilitating genetic disease that often kills infants, and it will come with a price tag of more than $2.1 million, making Zolgensma the most expensive drug on the planet.
Details: Novartis said it will allow health insurance companies to pay the $2.1 million, which does not factor in potential rebates or discounts, over 5 years.
Between the lines: The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, a group that evaluates drug pricing and effectiveness, said in a statement that an appropriate all-in price range for Zolgensma would be between $1.1 million and $1.9 million — below what Novartis set.
The bottom line: Zolgensma is emblematic of the new scientific advances that treat people with crippling diseases and of the debate society will have over how it should pay for these types of therapies.
Go deeper: The drug pricing debate is stuck in the past
Since the start of 2019, the U.S. recorded 940 measles cases in 26 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.
What's new: In an effort to halt the spread of the extremely contagious disease, the CDC recently threatened to use its Do Not Board list on 8 infected people, as first reported by the Washington Post and confirmed by my colleague Eileen Drage O'Reilly.
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