Jan 28, 2019

PhRMA considering Medicare drug price increase caps

Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

PhRMA, the drug industry's leading trade group, is considering a proposal that would commit member companies to limiting increases in the prices of drugs purchased by Medicare, BioCentury reported this weekend.

Why it matters: Rising brand-name drug costs are due largely to price inflation, a January Health Affairs study found, while generic and specialty drug price increases are driven more by new products entering the market.

  • The proposal is aimed at persuading the administration to drop its Part B plan, which includes tying Medicare drug prices to those in other countries. The PhRMA idea is to limit drug price increases from exceeding inflation.
  • The organization hasn't decided whether the proposal would be limited to Part B drugs, or if it would also include Part D, pharma executives involved in the discussion told BioCentury.

What we're watching: Whether Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar thinks this is a reasonable policy trade if it's pitched to him.

Go deeper: The drug pricing maze

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Biden, Sanders work toward truce on big issues

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden isn’t about to become Bernie Sanders, but he’s signaling that there’s potential for more common ground on issues such as health care, student debt, climate change and more in the weeks ahead.

What to watch: As Biden courts Sanders' endorsement, their teams will hold policy discussions in the next few weeks with the expectation that Biden will incorporate some elements of Sanders' agenda, a person familiar with those plans tells Axios.

Some Trump aides eye May 1 start to coronavirus reopening

President Trump was flanked at yesterday's briefing by HHS Secretary Alex Azar (far left), Vice President Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump's aides, encouraged by virus data showing fewer deaths than once projected, are working behind the scenes to deliver on his vow to reopen America "sooner rather than later."

What to watch for: The official said there’s a lot of internal energy pushing for May 1, because that's the end of the White House's "30 days to slow the spread."

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 14,800

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 2,000 people for the second day in a row, and it's infected over 432,000 others, per Johns Hopkins data.

Where it stands: More than 14,800 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. — including over 4,500 in New York. The state's death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Wednesday — beating the previous day's record. 779 people died in New York in 24 hours. N.Y. has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe.

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