The market responds

In yesterday’s post, I noted about a consultant’s study concluding that the ARRA subsidy will cover about 1/2 the cost of electronic medical record technology for doctors. Today, according to a New York Times report, Wal Mart announced that it is teaming up with Dell Computers and eClinicalWorks to offer low priced EMR technology to small medical practices.

In other mid-week developments, House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Rep. Henry Waxman introduced a bipartisan bill to create a regulatory pathway for generic versions of expensive biotech prescription drugs. There appears to be a fly in the ointment according to this AP report,

The debate over an approval process for biotech copies has dragged on for years, with both the biotechnology and generic drug industries at loggerheads over how much competition-free marketing the original drugs should get. The biotechnology industry has called for up to 14 years of exclusivity for their drugs before a copy could be introduced.But the bill instead mirrors the current system for chemical compounds, which allows for five years of market exclusivity for new drugs and up to three years additional exclusivity for modifications.

Also today, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Baucus and three powerful House chairmen announced plans to push comprehensive health care reform legislation this year.