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What Does the Future Hold for Drug Pricing?

February 28, 2019 | Blog | By Eli Greenspan

On Tuesday, executives from seven of the largest pharmaceutical companies testified before the Senate Finance Committee on rising prescription drug prices. While the hearing was expected to be packed with fireworks as Senators of both parties grilled the nation's top pharmaceutical executives, it was largely uneventful.
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Device Modernization Series: FDA’s Proposed De Novo Regulation

February 28, 2019 | Blog | By Aaron Josephson

In our first Device Modernization series post, we discussed how FDA is proposing to modernize the 510(k) review program. FDA also recently issued a proposed regulation for the De Novo program and linked that proposed regulation to 510(k) modernization efforts as part of a broader strategy to improve device safety.

The proposed De Novo regulation, issued December 5, 2018, would codify into regulation many of the policy and programmatic features of the De Novo program that are currently outlined in guidance documents. Because guidance is nonbinding, FDA is seeking through the proposed regulation to provide structure, clarity, and transparency to the De Novo process in a way that would be binding on De Novo submitters.
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ML Strategies Health Care Preview - Week of February 25th

February 26, 2019 | Blog | By Eli Greenspan

This week, Congress will dive into rising prescription drug costs with a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee. The hearing will feature seven top drug manufacturer executives and will focus on rising drug prices and transparency, among other topics. The Finance Committee is also looking into insulin price increases, joining the House Oversight Committee in investigating a number of prescription drug price increases. We cover this and more in this week's preview, which you can find by...
Viewpoint General

Device Modernization Series: FDA’s Changes to the 510(k) Program

February 21, 2019 | Blog | By Aaron Josephson

In our “FDA 2018 Year in Review (and a Few Thoughts on 2019)” post and recent webinar, we observed that we may look back at 2018 as the beginning of the end for the 510(k) program as it has existed since the 1976 Medical Device Amendments to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The 510(k) pathway has been scrutinized for years and among the most damning criticisms leveled against it is that it is a loophole that lets unsafe products on the market by allowing manufacturers to, in most cases, avoid clinical testing. As long as the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act allows for 510(k)s, though, FDA has to make the review program work, so the agency is looking for ways to improve the safety of 510(k)-cleared devices rather than burying its head in the sand.
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ML Strategies Health Care Preview - Week of February 11, 2019

February 11, 2019 | Blog | By Eli Greenspan

Congress and the Administration are staring down the prospects of another government shutdown with talks breaking down over the weekend on a border funding deal. Democrats in the House continue to aggressively pursue drug pricing legislation, and are also touting reforms to the ACA to counteract actions taken by the Administration. Once we're beyond the shutdown, assuming a long-term deal can be struck, legislative direction on key issues should become clear. We cover this and more in this week's preview, which you can find...
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Mintz/ML Strategies’ 4th Annual Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Industry Summit has been scheduled for Thursday, May 2, 2019 – mark your calendars! People from across the industry will gather for one day to share insights about issues that the players in this complex marketplace are tackling.
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ML Strategies Health Care Preview - Week of February 4, 2019

February 4, 2019 | Blog | By Eli Greenspan

This week, we explore the Administration's proposed rule related to AKS safe harbors and what it means for the drug pricing debate. On Capitol Hill, Democrats in both chambers are beginning to examine behaviors by various companies in an effort to drive home the need for additional oversight. It's clear that drug pricing is going to be a hot topic for this Congress. What's unclear is whether both sides can find consensus in proposals that lower drug costs. We cover this and more in this week's preview, which you can find by...
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ML Strategies Health Care Preview - Week of January 28, 2019

January 29, 2019 | Blog | By Eli Greenspan

The shutdown fight is over for now and Congress is ready to get the work of the 116th Congress underway. This week, there will be four relevant hearings to health care stakeholders, two of which will center around prescription drug pricing. The other two will look at pre-existing conditions and community health center related policies. On the regulatory side, we wait and see if the Administration will be putting forth any regulations in this space, in particular the discount safe harbor rule.
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Arizona 1115 Medicaid Waiver Update

January 22, 2019 | Blog | By Emma Zimmerman

In 2014, Arizona expanded Medicaid to the new adult group. Following the expansion, Arizona submitted, and CMS approved, an 1115 waiver extension to create the Choice, Accountability, Responsibility, Engagement (CARE) program. CARE adds premiums and cost sharing, healthy behavior incentive programs, and flexible spending accounts, called CARE Accounts, for certain adults in the expansion population. The program is approved to run through September 30, 2021.
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ML Strategies Health Care Preview - Week of January 22nd

January 22, 2019 | Blog | By Eli Greenspan

While Congress is still mired in a partial government shutdown, the Administration is continuing to put out relevant health care regulations and approving new Medicaid work requirements. With the first health care hearings of 2019 beginning next week, we should get a sense of the level of oversight the Administration will be facing this Congress. We cover this and more in this week's health care preview.
Viewpoint General

The Buzz About Block Grants

January 16, 2019 | Blog

With the recent scoop from Politico that the Trump Administration is considering giving states the ability to implement Medicaid block grants, there has been considerable speculation on what the Administration is planning. Although we don’t know exactly what the Administration has in mind, there increasing skepticism on the legality of this move. So we are laying out the fundamentals and past history as we await the final guidance.
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ML Strategies Health Care Preview - January 14, 2019

January 15, 2019 | Blog | By Eli Greenspan

While Congress and the Administration are dug in entering the third week of a partial government shutdown, both branches of government are looking to shape other policy areas in 2019. The Administration is reportedly looking at reforming the Medicaid program and Congress is ramping up its oversight of prescription drug prices.

We cover this and what it will mean for this Congress in this week's preview.
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ML Strategies Health Care Preview - Week of January 7, 2019

January 7, 2019 | Blog | By Eli Greenspan

The partial government shutdown is on its 17th day with no end in sight. In this week's preview, we discuss how reaching a solution is challenging for both sides and implications for legislating going forward. We also cover some of the latest polling on health care issues, which may offer a preview into messaging in this space over the next two years.
Viewpoint General
On Friday, December 14th, Judge O’Connor, a Texas Federal District Court Judge, ruled on the case Texas vs. Azar. As background, Texas vs. Azar was filed by 20 Republican state attorneys general and governors. The plaintiffs challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and argue that since the individual mandate has been repealed, or more technically zeroed out, the rest of the ACA must be struck down. They argue that the individual mandate cannot be severed from the ACA given its key structural role in the law. The Department of Justice agreed with some, but not all parts, of this argument, and sixteen states and DC are defending the ACA.
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ML Strategies Weekly Preview - December 17, 2018

December 17, 2018 | Blog | By Eli Greenspan

This week, Congress is in session for what should be the last week of the 115th Congress. However, the spending fight that has been raging since the last continuing resolution is no closer to being wrapped up than it was a month ago. Additionally, we watch to see if the IMPROVE Act can be finalized this week.
Viewpoint General

Summary of the IMPROVE Act

December 14, 2018 | Blog

On December 11, 2018, the House of Representatives passed the IMPROVE Act in a vote of 400-11. The bill is currently moving to the Senate. Our summary of the major provisions of the IMPROVE Act can be found...
Viewpoint General
As of December 2018, 37 states (including D.C.) have adopted Medicaid expansion. Of the remaining 14 states, some are considering expanding Medicaid. States with recent activity relating to Medicaid expansion include: Florida, Idaho, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Utah. States continue to explore different opportunities as it relates to Medicaid expansion. 
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ML Strategies Health Care Preview - December 10, 2018

December 10, 2018 | Blog | By Eli Greenspan

Congress has two weeks to finish up a partial spending deal. For many health care stakeholders, the focus is on finishing the reauthorization of the Money Follows the Person program and passing the ACE Kids Act. While there are other legislative items in the health care space still pending, the current thinking is that policy changes around the doughnut hole or the medical device tax will be left unaddressed.

We cover this and more in this week's health care preview.
Viewpoint General
On November 26, 2018 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule, Modernizing Part D and Medicare Advantage to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenses. This proposed rule is the Trump Administration’s latest action to curb prescription drug prices. The proposed rule outlines a number of provisions to for lowering drug prices and reducing out-of-pocket costs in the Part D program that build off the Administration’s Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs.
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