Morning Consult Health, Presented by PhRMA: Hearing on FDA Overhaul Today; Insurers Violating ACA’s Contraceptive Care Mandate

Today’s Washington Brief

  • Three Democrats signed onto an updated draft of 21st Century Cures that includes a funding boost for the National Institutes of Health. Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on health will discuss the new draft with officials from the Food and Drug Administration and NIH. Morning Consult has the story.
  • Republicans in Congress are weighing at least five proposals on how to respond if the Supreme Court rules that insurances subsides in federal exchanges are illegal, Associated Press reports.
  • Lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry are preparing to fight a new attempt by Congress to overhaul patent litigation law to counter patent trolling, National Journal reports.

Today’s Business Brief

  • Health insurers are failing to cover all approved contraceptive methods “without co-payments or other charges” as required under the Affordable Care Act, according to separate studies by the National Women’s Law Center and Kaiser Family Foundation, New York Times reports.
  • Perrigo rejected a second takeover attempt by Mylan for $34 billion on Wednesday, according to the New York Times. Earlier this week, Mylan rebuked a $40 billion unsolicited takeover bid by Teva Pharmaceuticals.
  • Express Scripts said Wednesday that controlling prices for new hepatitis C drugs would be a new “focus area” for the pharmacy benefit provider, Reuters reports.

Today’s Chart Review

Mark Your Calendars (All Eastern Times)

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on 21st Century Cures in 2123 Rayburn @ 10 a.m.

Earnings Reports: Cardinal Health IncCigna CorpMagellan Health IncNeurocrine Biosciences IncPacira Pharmaceuticals Inc/DEWest Pharmaceutical Services Inc, Sanofi

No events.

Earnings Reports: CVS Health CorpLifePoint Hospitals IncPharmacyclics Inc



21st Century Cures Enlists Dems by Boosting NIH
from Morning Consult by Jon Reid

Democratic legislators on the House Energy and Commerce Committee endorsed a new draft of legislation aiming to overhaul the Food and Drug Administration, in part thanks to a funding boost to the National Institutes of Health.

GOP divided as Supreme Court ruling on health care law nears
from Associated Press by Alan Fram

Congressional Republicans are divided over how to respond to an approaching Supreme Court decision on President Barack Obama’s health care law, even as growing numbers concede that their long-sought goal of repealing the statute will have to wait.

GOP Plans for Reacting to Supreme Court Ruling on Health Law
from Associated Press

Congressional Republicans have yet to unite behind any of the growing number of proposals for responding to a Supreme Court ruling that could void federal subsidies that millions of people use to buy coverage under President Barack Obama’s health care law. The decision is expected by June.

Big Pharma Collides With Patent Reformers
from National Journal by Dylan Scott

Congress is readying to make another run at overhauling patent litigation law, and that means the pharmaceutical industry is mobilizing.

GOP warms to Obamacare — if Americans work for it
from Politico by Sarah Wheaton

In nearly a dozen Republican-dominated states, either the governor or conservative legislators are seeking to add work requirements to Obamacare Medicaid expansion, much like an earlier generation pushed for welfare to work.

Auditor: States might be using ObamaCare grant money illegally
from The Hill by Sarah Ferris

Some states running their own ObamaCare exchanges may be illegally using federal dollars to keep them afloat, according to a new warning from a government auditor.

Healthcare spending rises 5.5% while rest of economy sputters
from Modern Healthcare by Bob Herman

A preliminary federal estimate of economic activity suggests healthcare spending maintained a consistently high growth rate in the opening three months of 2015 even though the broader U.S. economy largely dragged its feet.

U.S. Index Futures Signal Equities to Decline for a Second Day
from Bloomberg Business by Namitha Jagadeesh

U.S. stock-index futures fell, signaling the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will drop for a second day.


Insurers Flout Rule Covering Birth Control, Studies Find
from New York Times by Robert Pear

Health insurance companies often flout a federal requirement that they cover all approved methods of birth control for women without co-payments or other charges, a major benefit of the Affordable Care Act, two new studies have found.

An Obamacare Payment Reform Success Story – One Health System, Two Procedures
from Kaiser Health News by Jay Hancock

To understand how the health law is supposed to fix the mediocre, overpriced, absurd medical system, you could read wonky research papers on bundled payments and accountable care organizations.


Almost 40% of California hospitals graded C or lower for patient safety
from Los Angeles Times by Chad Terhune and Doug Smith

Nearly four in 10 California hospitals received a grade of C or lower for patient safety in a new national report card aimed at prodding medical centers to do more to prevent injuries and deaths.

Pharma, Biotech & Device

Mylan Raises Offer for Perrigo Again and Is Rejected Again
from New York Times by Michael J. de la Merced

Seeking to fend off an unwanted takeover bid by Teva Pharmaceuticals, Mylan raised its bid for its Irish rival Perrigo a second time — but the drug maker was again rejected.

Express Scripts says controlling cancer-drug costs a tough new focus
from Reuters by Ransdell Pierson

Pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts Holding Co, which has aggressively negotiated lower costs of new hepatitis C drugs, on Wednesday said a new “focus area” will be subduing costs of a growing wave of pricey biotech cancer drugs.

Kythera Wins FDA Approval for Double-Chin Treatment
from Wall Street Journal by Lisa Beilfuss

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration on Wednesday approved Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc.’s injectable drug to treat adult submental fat, the first nonsurgical option to banish the double chin.

New Shingles Vaccine May Offer Improved Protection
from New York Times by Nicholas Bakalar

In a large randomized trial, researchers have found that a newly developed shingles vaccine is about twice as effective as the one currently in use.

Health IT

Teladoc Announces Confidential Submission of Initial IPO Paperwork
from Wall Street Journal by Timothy Hay

Teladoc Inc., an early player in the field of telemedicine, has filed preliminary paperwork to trade on public markets, the company said in a news release Wednesday.

Health literacy important for heart failure patient survival
from Reuters by Kathryn Doyle

Acute heart failure patients are more likely to die within two years of hospitalization if they have trouble understanding and using health information, according to a new study.

A Message from PhRMA:

Active and athletic her whole life, Charis was devastated when, at just 25, she was diagnosed with a rare and severe form of arthritis that affected her spine and joints. Today, thanks to new, innovative medicines, her worst symptoms are gone and she’s back on her bike. “I will not let this disease define me,” Charis says. Every single day, millions of patients like Charis benefit from the groundbreaking work of America’s biopharmaceutical researchers.

Opinions, Editorials & Perspectives

U.S. Supreme Court 2014 Term Healthcare Decisions
from Morning Consult by Julius W. Hobson

As we await the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell concerning the constitutionality of subsidies under the federally administered health exchanges, we would do well to review the Court’s health-related decisions thus far in the 2014 term (which runs Oct. 6, 2014 – Oct. 4, 2015).

Making Sense of Hospital Ratings
from Morning Consult by Richard Umbdenstock

First it was ratings, then rankings, and now it’s stars. It’s enough to confuse even the savviest health care consumer.

The prognosis for U.S. healthcare? Better than you think.
from Fortune by Erika Fry

Bernard Tyson, chairman and chief executive of Kaiser Permanente—the $56 billion non-profit health insurer and hospital operator—is more optimistic about America’s healthcare system than he’s ever been.

Doctors and Nurses, Not Learning Together
from New York Times by Dhruv Khullar

There are few group projects in medical school — which is strange when you consider that there are few solo practitioners in the real world.

Health Disparities Impoverish Us All
from Huffington Post by British A. Robinson

This April, we commemorate Minority Health Month — and this year, an important milestone: the 30th anniversary of Secretary of Health and Human Services Margaret M. Heckler’s Task Force Report on Black and Minority Health.

A Message from PhRMA:

When Marina was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 1997, she was given little hope. At that time, there were simply no effective treatments. But in 2000, hope did come – in the form of a clinical trial. For Marina, the treatment was effective and, 15 years later she remains in remission. Because of biopharmaceutical innovation, patients like Marina live longer, healthier lives.

Research Reports, Issue Briefs & Case Studies

Health Literacy and Mortality: A Cohort Study of Patients Hospitalized for Acute Heart Failure
from Journal of the American Heart Association

Background More than 30% of patients hospitalized for heart failure are rehospitalized or die within 90 days of discharge. Lower health literacy is associated with mortality among outpatients with chronic heart failure; little is known about this relationship after hospitalization for acute heart failure.

state of birth control coverage: health plan violations of the affordable care act from National Women’s Law Center

…In addition to reports received through the CoverHer hotline, the National Women’s Law Center reviewed over 100 plan documents from issuers in the new marketplaces in 15 states, reviewed publicly-available documents on insurance company websites, and corresponded with insurance companies. This research has uncovered three major trends in the ways insurance companies are not complying with the birth control benefit: