TGIF reports that federal agencies shed nearly 20,0000 jobs in 2014 compared to a loss of 83,000 jobs on 2013. “Non-postal agencies employed at total of 2.12 million people at the end of 2014, while the Postal Service employed just less than 600,000. USPS has begun each year with fewer employees than in the one immediately prior for 15 consecutive years, according to agency figures, but BLS data show the agency actually netted 3,000 jobs in 2014.”

Yippee! Modern Healthcare reports that on Wednesday an Food and Drug Administration Advisory Panel recommended that the agency approve a bio-similar drug for marketing. This was a first in the good old USA.   Amgen’s “Neupogen can run more than $3,000 for 10 injections, and RAND Corp. researcher Andrew Mulcahy estimates [Novartis’s bio-similar] Zarxio could be sold at a 35% discount.”  However, even if the bio-similar drug is approved for marketing, the FDA also must figure out the process for determining whether a pharmacist can interchange the drugs without a physician’s approval as is the case with small molecule generic drugs.

In this regard, Drug Channels has an interesting report estimating how PBM’s profit from the wars between the manufacturers of biologic drugs to treat Hepatitis C — Gilead Sciences and AbbVie. This blogger estimate that these formulary moves, combined with specialty pharmacy dispensing, will allow the PBMs [specifically Express Scripts which is backing AbbVie and CVS which is backing Gilead} to earn as much as $2,600 to $3,100 per patient. The blogger backs up his estimates in the report.

The Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute released its 2014 report on the transparency of healthcare provider quality and the results are not good. The press release concludes “Consumers are flying blind when it comes to selecting hospitals and physicians, and public and private sector purchasers cannot hope to improve the overall quality and affordability of American health care if they don’t find a way to solve this problem. Some states {Washington, Minnesota, and Maine] have and every other state in the Union should follow suit.”