Independence Day Weekend Update

Congress is out of town for the Independence Day holiday this week. Here’s a link to the Week in Congress’s report on last week’s actions on Capitol Hill.

Fierce Healthcare is offering a series of articles on a worthy topic — provider / payer cooperation.  For example,

Payers can monitor patients’ adherence rate by how often they fill their medications. But just because the patient fills a prescription doesn’t mean they’ll take it.
“That’s where your care management programs help to fill in the gaps,” one attendee said. “Collaboration is about how you create the right incentives so everyone is moving in the right direction. It’s easy to agree to in theory—it’s hard to do.”

Here are a few quick hits on prescription drug costs:

  • Fierce Healthcare tells us about two recent studies on opioid use. 
  • The Wall Street Journal reports on unexpected shortages of “simple” prescription drugs. 
  • The Food and Drug Administration last week announced ‘two new, important steps to increase competition in the market for prescription drugs and facilitate entry of lower-cost alternatives. The agency published a list of off-patent, off-exclusivity branded drugs without approved generics, and also implemented, for the first time, a new policy to expedite the review of generic drug applications where competition is limited.”
The Wall Street Journal also offered expert advice on reducing anti-biotic overuse by a Johns Hopkins MD executive. As a result of the article, he ran across the author’s interesting blog, Voices for Safer Care.  A recent post concerns “Breaking Down the Barriers to Second Opinions.