BCBS to Form Civica Rx Subsidiary

A group of 18 Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) health insurer organizations will create a new nonprofit drug company with the goal of lowering the costs of generics and combating drug shortages. The company will target treatments that currently have high prices and a lack of competition on the market. The insurers will spend $55 million to create a new subsidiary of Civica Rx, a nonprofit generic manufacturer founded in 2018 by a group of hospitals. While Civica Rx has focused on manufacturing drugs that are administered in hospitals, the new subsidiary will focus on products sold behind the pharmacy counter. The first drugs are expected to become available in 2022.

ACP Endorses Medicare-for-All

The American College of Physicians (ACP) announced its endorsement of a “Medicare-for-All” health care system last week. In an Annals of Internal Medicine policy paper, the organization representing medical internists also detailed its own recommendations for transitioning to a single payer or public option with the goal of achieving universal coverage. ACP is the largest medical specialty society to announce its support of “Medicare-for-All.” It previously backed a narrower public option approach, but has shifted its position in response to the nation’s high cost of care and the number of patients that remain uninsured or underinsured. The ACP’s recommendations will be circulated among health care stakeholders including hospitals, insurers, and pharmaceutical companies for feedback.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Markups

House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security hearing “Fentanyl Analogues: Perspectives on Classwide Scheduling;” 10:00 a.m., 2141 Rayburn Bldg.; January 28

House Ways and Means Committee hearing “Legislative Proposals for Paid Family and Medical Leave;” 10:00 a.m., 1100 Longworth Bldg.; January 28

House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing “The Importance of Public Disclosure Requirements for Protecting Human Health, the Climate, and the Environment;” 10:00 a.m., 1334 Longworth Bldg.; January 28

House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions and Subcommittee on Workforce Protections joint hearing “Expecting More: Addressing America’s Maternal and Infant Health Crisis;” 10:15 a.m., 2175 Rayburn Bldg.; January 28

House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing “Improving Safety and Transparency in America’s Food and Drugs;” 10:00 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.; January 29

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing “Caring for Veterans in Crisis: Ensuring a Comprehensive Health System Approach;” 10:00 a.m., 210 Capitol Bldg.; January 29

House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing “Unique Challenges Women Face in Global Health;” 10:00 a.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.; February 5

Recently Introduced Health Legislation

H.R.5654 — To amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize grants to institutions of higher education for the establishment of schools of medicine (or branch campuses) in underserved areas, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Costa, Jim [D-CA-16]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.5663 — To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to give authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, to destroy counterfeit devices; Sponsor: Rep. Guthrie, Brett [R-KY-2]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

S.Res.479 — A resolution designating January 23, 2020, as “Maternal Health Awareness Day”; Sponsor: Sen. Booker, Cory A. [D-NJ]; Committees: Senate – Judiciary

S.3220 — A bill to amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to clarify that the provision of home and community-based services is not prohibited in an acute care hospital, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Portman, Rob [R-OH]; Committees: Senate – Finance

S.3222 — A bill to establish a grant program relating to the prevention of student and student athlete opioid misuse; Sponsor: Sen. Shaheen, Jeanne [D-NH]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.3224 — A bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to allow for the use of commercial institutional review boards for research, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Cassidy, Bill [R-LA]; Committees: Senate - Veterans’ Affairs

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