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HHS Drug Pricing Forum Highlighted in ML Strategies' Health Care Update

This week’s ML Strategies Health Care Update highlights the recent Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) forum on prescription drug costs, which featured players from every corner of the industry, including top government officials.

HHS Secretary Burwell kicked off the event by calling for greater support for prescription drug innovation, access, and affordability.  ML Strategies reports that there seemed to be agreement that payments based on the value of care delivered should be increased across health care delivery.  But, what value is, and how it should be defined, is still up for debate.

Transparency and increased competition are key issues brought up throughout the forum. Some stakeholders argued that increased transparency can already be seen by the level of scrutiny some have faced this year from drug price increases.  While others contended that increased competition is what is needed.

This forum was the latest action by the Administration around this issue, with more to follow as a number of congressional investigations around this issue pick up steam.  The Senate Select Committee on Aging recently launched a drug pricing investigation, alongside the Sen. Bernie Sanders–Rep. Elijah Cummings investigation, and there are a handful of other investigations.  ML Strategies will continue to monitor these issues and will publish a special alert on drug pricing policy developments next month.

In addition to the HHS drug pricing forum, this update provides timely information on implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Congressional initiatives affecting the health care industry, and federal and state health regulatory developments.  Lawmakers are expected to return from Thanksgiving Recess to a full agenda on November 30th.  For more information on the upcoming legislative agenda, please see this end-of-year ML Strategies update.

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Author

Bridgette A. Keller is a Mintz attorney who applies her experience in health system administration and ethics in health care to her health law practice. She advises health care providers, ACOs, health plans, PBMs, and laboratories on regulatory, fraud and abuse, and business planning matters.