Miscellany / Weekly Wrapup

  • The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing held on June 6 apparently did not provide any resolution to the Avandia diabetes drug controversy, although the FDA commissioner did announce that “the agency had asked that Avandia, made by GlaxoSmithKline, and Actos, made by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, carry the more prominent warning because ‘despite existing warnings, these drugs were being prescribed to patients with significant heart failure.'”
  • Dr. David Brailer, who was the Nation’s first health information technology czar, resigned his position as co-chair of the American Health Information Community, in order to pursue managing his private venture capital firm called Health Evolution Partners. The firm will be investing $700 million of CALPers assets.
  • The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts approved on June 6, 2007, the class certification motion in the First Databank case that challenges the validity of the Average Wholesale Pricing (AWP) methodology widely used for prescription drug manager pricing purposes with third party payers. Third party payers, who form the class, will be receiving a notice of class certification this summer, and they have until October 22, 2007, to opt out of the class action as described in the order. The class has been certified solely for purposes of the proposed settlement between First Databank and the plaintiffs, e.g, the class certification does not extend to the complaint against McKesson. The Court also preliminarily approved the proposed settlement and has scheduled a fairness hearing on the proposed settlement for November 14, 2007.
  • On Monday June 4, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld a proposed Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rule that exempts from the Age Discrimination in Employment Act the common employer practice of reducing or eliminating retiree healthcare benefits when the retiree becomes eligible for Medicare. The caption of the case is AARP v. EEOC, — F.3d — , No. 05-4594, and a copy of the opinion is here.