Taking Action Express: Game-changing Rx News; 1,000 Days of Choosing Wisely; Capitol News…
April 28, 2015
The Weekly Buzz: Scrutiny on the Rising Cost of Drugs
- To combat rising drug prices, President Obama wants Medicare officials to be able to negotiate with drug manufacturers, which is forbidden under current law, according to the New York Times.
- Click here to see a new Consumer Affairs article that takes a look at how health care policymakers are calling attention to the troubling trend of prohibitively expensive prescription drugs.
- Click here to view an article about pharmaceutical companies that are buying rivals’ drugs so they can jack up prices.
- If the Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Mylan NV merger goes through, the company will control over 25 percent of the generic drug industry. Learn what this means for purchasers.
For Action Group Members Only
Action Group members will want to mark their calendars for these exclusive upcoming events:
- May 5, 2015: National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH) webinar on the 2018 excise (“Cadillac”) tax, specifically the recent IRS notice. Members may click here to register.
- May 21, 2015: Member meeting to review the Phase I Specialty Pharmacy Purchaser’s Guide. Click here to learn more.
- July 15, 2015: Save the date! Minnesota Bridges to Excellence (MNBTE) recognition event.
A Thousand Days of Choosing Wisely
The Choosing Wisely campaign began in earnest in April 2012, when nine medical specialty societies announced the first “Five Things Patients and Physicians Should Question” lists. Read about the first 1,000 days of Choosing Wisely here. To learn about all the ways The Action Group is involved in this important campaign, visit our website and type in key words, “Choosing Wisely.”
Action Group Summit Materials Available Online
A capacity crowd of nearly 200 health care enthusiasts gathered on Friday, April 17, 2015, to immerse themselves in a day filled with inspiring presentations and conversations at The Action Group’s 8th Annual Employer Leadership Summit. The event was even featured in Saturday’s Star Tribune, with a follow-up article on Sunday about unsustainable specialty pharmacy costs. To view the presentations, photos, and meeting materials, please click here.
Coming Soon! Specialty Pharmacy Care Delivery Learning Network Phase II
The Action Group’s Specialty Pharmacy Care Delivery Learning Network kicked off last October, and is being extended for another six months. Even if you were not a part of Phase I, if you are an employer member, you are invited to join Phase II. We will be offering a Specialty Pharmacy Boot Camp to get you up to speed on everything we learned during Phase I. For more information, please contact Carolyn Pare (952-896-5185) or Linda Davis (952-484-7970). All employer-members are invited to our May 21 meeting, where we will gather to review the Phase I Specialty Pharmacy Purchaser’s Guide.
Help Wanted: NDPP Project Coordinator; Hennepin County Benefits Manager
Action Group members may post job openings in fyi and Express at no cost. Simply send your request to Sue Jesseman.
Minnesota Health Action Group. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is contracting with The Action Group to engage employers and insurers in four funded communities to make the National Diabetes Prevention Program a covered benefit for employees. To support us in this work, we are seeking a temporary, part-time Project Coordinator to create the employer section of the NDPP toolkit. Click here to see the full job description.
Hennepin County. Hennepin County is seeking a Human Resources manager with proven ability to use creativity and innovation to build on the quality benefit programs and initiatives that are integral to the core values of the organization. Duties involved planning and directing the design, implementation, communication and administration of employee benefits programs that exceed $200 million in annual expenditures. Click here to learn more.
From the Capitol
Last week the Senate Health and Human Services (HHS) omnibus bill, Senate File 1458, was unveiled and passed off the floor by a vote of 38-22. The bill, which increases health care spending by $341 million for the 2016-17 biennium, includes a number of new spending and policy provisions and bears almost no resemblance to the House package that cuts over $1 billion. A bill summary can be found here, but some of the notable items include:
- The prior authorization system reforms being pushed by the Minnesota Medical Association. Action Group President and CEO, Carolyn Pare, sent letters to lawmakers urging them to consider the merits of prior authorization and asking them to intercede on behalf of all Minnesota purchasers.
- “Any Willing Pharmacist” provisions that would allow any pharmacies willing to accept specialty pharmacy contract terms to participate in those specialty networks.
- Directives for how the Minnesota Department of Health can use a new All Payer Claims Database (APCD). Click here to see an overview of the APCD. To view The Action Group’s letter urging lawmakers to support expanding use of the APCD, click here.
- A new governor’s task force on health care financing with a focus on sustainability.
With less than a month before the adjournment deadline, significant differences exist between not just the House and Senate HHS positions, but almost all other budget areas as well. Many Capitol observers now believe a Special Session may be necessary to wrap up the state’s business.
Thought for the Week
“It is unacceptable that Americans pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Generic drugs were meant to help make medications affordable for millions of Americans who rely on prescriptions to manage their health needs. We’ve got to get to the bottom of these enormous price increases.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (l-VT)