Tuesday Tidbits

Following up on a number of recent posts:

  • Federal News Radio reports that 

The Justice Department jumped the gun in June when it claimed  a Maryland woman pleaded guilty for using data stolen from the 2015 breach of the Office of Personnel Management to obtain fraudulent loans. In a letter to Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Justice Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said DoJ reached a “premature conclusion” that the data only came from the OPM breach.

  • Fierce Healthcare reports that yesterday HHS Secretary Alex Azar gave a speech in the course of which he said

“The drug companies who recently increased prices may well be remembered for creating a tipping point in U.S. drug pricing policy.  As you may have recently seen on Twitter, the president has noticed. I have noticed. And more importantly, the American people have noticed. Change is coming to prescription drug pricing whether it’s painful or not for pharmaceutical companies.” 

The Wall Street Journal reports tonight that “Pfizer Inc.c said Tuesday that it would “defer” some recent drug-price increases, reversing course after President Donald Trump criticized the company.”

  • Healthcare Dive reports that Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, “reaffirmed in a statement Monday the agency’s commitment to finding the “right balance” between reducing the U.S. rate of opioid addiction and providing access to legitimate patients, for whom these medications can be lifesaving.”  That’s an important balance to achieve.
  • On a related note, Fierce Healthcare reports on how hospitals are handling the intravenous opioid drug shortage.  As the FEHBlog learned from reading the outstanding Dreamland book, opioid drugs administered inpatient are closely supervised and don’t lead to addiction. It’s the outpatient use that poses an addiction concern but even then many people need this effective pain treatment. Supervision can be provided to outpatients too. 
  • Healthcare Dive also reports on a useful study on patient safety here.