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July 5, 2024

Brand Pharma Spends More On Stock Buybacks And Marketing Than R&D

A report from Accountable, a nonpartisan watchdog group, found that brand drug makers spent more on stock buybacks, marketing, and other related spending than on research and development (R&D). Accountable said the companies spent $95.9 billion on R&D expenditures in 2023, but spent 70% more on stock buybacks, dividends, and marketing and administrative costs. It also found that the companies spent nearly $500 million collectively on executive and board compensation, at least $83.2 million on trade association dues, $10.6 million on political contributions and $57.8 million on lobbying. This is consistent with a report from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, and Democrats on the Senate HELP Committee.

Accountable argues that these are areas that spending could be reduced to offset any potential impact on margins and a commensurate reduction in R&D due to Medicare drug price negotiations.

As they always do, the drug maker lobby said information got cherry picked. It is always someone else’s fault that America has disproprtionately high drug prices.

(Article may require a subscription.)

#drugpricing #ira #branddrugmakers

https://insidehealthpolicy.com/inside-drug-pricing-daily-news/report-drug-makers-spending-2023-failed-prioritize-rd

Senate Republicans Want Changes Post Chevron Deference Decision

The Senate HELP Committee’s top Republican, Bill Cassidy of LA, has written federal agencies after the Supreme Court’s decision to remove Chevron deference in the regulatory process.  In addition, some are calling for beefed up staff in Congress to provide the right kind of direction in laws. Cassidy believes Congress must write more prescriptive laws. He also wants to know how agencies will comply with the striking of Chevron.

(Article may require a subscription.)

#chevrondeference #healthcare #hhs #cms #regulations

https://insidehealthpolicy.com/daily-news/lawmakers-policy-experts-congress-should-seize-opportunity-expand-authority-post-chevron

Health Affairs Blog Argues In Favor of GLP-1s As Preventive Coverage

The Health Affairs Forefront Blog argues in favor of the possible move to designate GLP-1s as a preventive service under both the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and in Medicare. What is troubling is that the article was written by lawyers aligned with the drug maker industry. While GLP-1s likely can reduce future spending, the authors gloss over the fact that making these preventive services would take away all efforts to reduce the excessive prices of the drugs.  Why is a respected healthcare journal not doing a better job of ensuring readers understand conflicts?

(Article may require a subscription.)

#ira #drugpricing #branddrugmakers #prevention

https://www.healthaffairs.org/content/forefront/new-anti-obesity-medications-should-considered-preventive-health-care

Federal Judge Stays Agent Compensation Changes In Medicare

A Texas federal judge with a record of challenging regulations issued a stay of the implementation of the new Medicare agent commission changes. The regulation from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sought to restrict compensation between third party marketing organizations (TPMOs, which employ insurance agents) and Medicare Advantage (MA) plans due to accusations of steering Medicare beneficiaries to certain plans when it was not in their best interests.  Medicare has received major complaints over such steerage.

The judge argued that there the stay was important given the major changes and the likelihood the plaintiffs could win their suit.

I think the stay is unfortunate despite the potential impact to the 2025 enrollment season that the rule would have had.  The reform was reasonable given the complaints emanating from sinister deals between TPMOs and MA health plans.

Additional article: https://news.bloomberglaw.com/employee-benefits/court-stays-health-agency-rule-on-medicare-agent-broker-payment

(Some articles may require a subscription.)

#agents #marketing #tpmos #medicareadvantage

https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2024/07/05/federal-court-blocks-medicare-agent-pay-cap-regulations/

— Marc S. Ryan

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