Diabetes Caucus Issues Report on Lowering Insulin Prices

The bipartisan House Diabetes Caucus has released a new report containing 11 recommendations for lowering the cost of insulin for patients. The report is based on a year-long investigation by the Caucus co-chairs Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.). The lawmakers conclude that perverse incentives in the insulin supply chain, along with limited competition, have led to artificially high prices for insulin. The cost of insulin has doubled since 2012, after a tripling in cost over the prior decade, despite no major breakthroughs or innovations to account for the price increases. The report’s recommendations focus on creating price transparency, generating additional competition, and reforming the drug rebate system.

Senate Dems Push for Stronger E-Cig Regulations

Fifteen Senate Democrats have written to the FDA requesting that the agency remove some flavors of e-cigarettes that have been proven particularly appealing to teenagers. Last month, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced that e-cigarette companies have 60 days to develop a plan to combat teen use of their products. The lawmakers seek even more aggressive action, arguing that they are “unconvinced that voluntary, self-policing by e-cigarette companies will be sufficient.” They urge the FDA to require manufacturers to “remove all kid-appealing flavored e-cigarette products from the market unless or until manufacturers can demonstrate that these flavors will benefit public health and will not attract children to begin using these addictive products.”

Open Enrollment 2019

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual health insurance market began last Thursday. It remains to be seen how recent changes from the Trump White House and congressional Republicans will impact insurance markets for 2019. This is the first enrollment period since the individual mandate was repealed and since the administration increased the availability of short-term coverage and association health plans. The administration will also fund fewer navigation programs, which help people enroll in coverage. Open enrollment will run through December 15.

White House Drug Czar Has Died

Dan Best, senior adviser for drug-pricing reform, passed away on Thursday, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Best served in the position of drug czar since March 2018 and was instrumental in the administration’s blueprint to lower prescription drug prices. HHS did not indicate how Best died or who will replace him.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Meetings

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing to examine reducing health care costs, focusing on improving affordability through innovation; 10:00 a.m., 430 Dirksen Bldg.; November 28

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