OBR Daily Commentary

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Congress Squares Off Over Drug Pricing And A Controversial Drug Discount Program

(Kaiser Health News) July 18, 2017 - The controversial 340B drug discount program for hospitals came under fire at a Congressional hearing.

Jeff Patton (Posted: July 19, 2017)

quotesIt certainly appears the hospital lobby is getting their money's worth on the democratic side of the isle, and as per usual inconvenient facts are being ignored or distorted. For anyone that understands anything about business to say that huge government imposed discounts won't be offset with price increases is nonsense. Almost everyone agrees with the original intent of the 340B program but the explosion of the program is out of control. Cruise by your local tax exempt hospital and you will likely see cranes not hospital wing closures.quotes

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ASCO Delegates Advocate for Cancer Care Issues at AMA House of Delegates Meeting

(ASCO in Action) June 26, 2017 - ASCO’s delegates participated in the American Medical Association’s (AMA) annual House of Delegates (HOD) meeting to advocate on behalf of oncologists and patients with cancer on issues including utilization management, MACRA implementation, access to health insurance, and opioids.

Thomas Marsland, MD (Posted: June 28, 2017)

quotesWhat a good looking group. Think I actually recognize a couple of them..... Indeed it was a good meeting. ASCO really is making itself visible at the AMA. We are truly proud of our own Barbara McAneny who was elected president of the AMA. She is a strong voice for community practices. ASCO heads the Cancer Caucus and helps spearhead resolutions that effect cancer care. But more and more it is clear that "our" issues really are issues that impact all of medicine. One can see from the article that MOC, MACRA, opiod abuse and network adequacy are issue effecting not only us but all. What really struct me was the true diversity of our AMA. The House of Delegates has its share of us old white dudes but the mix really is broad based. Doctors of all genders, race, sexual preference, age and political persuasion are represented. Resolutions are hotly debated since clearly such a diverse group has many opinions. The debates are always polite, respectful and comprehensive. The speakers of the house do a great job "herding cats." In the end resolutions are accepted by vote with majority rules. The main driving motivation of all of us there really is we all want the best patient care. Our national leaders could take a good lesson from the AMA House. I would encourage folks to consider joining the AMA. It really does do a good job of addressing issue critical to all of us.... quotes

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Hospitals Chase Lucrative Drug Discounts

(Atlanta Journal-Constitution) June 16, 2017 - At Grady Memorial Hospital, where Atlanta’s poor and uninsured are welcomed, the pharmacy charges most patients $5 or less for outpatient medications that treat everything from diabetes to cancer.

Winston Wong, PharmD (Posted: June 20, 2017)

quotesThe article points out the biggest concern associated with the so-called abuse of the 340B program. As noted, the 340B program was intended to provide care to the poor. As such, while the institution requires a 51% discount on medications, the institution can bill the patient's insurer for the normal negotiated amount, thus allowing the institution to use the margin to help subsidize the care provided. Technically, the institution is suppose to bill for medications used for the poor only, but that has expanded to a larger population as noted. This is a pretty accurate description of the abuse that is taking place, which is contributing to the high cost of drugs. There has been talk of tightening the system up for years, but it has yet to happen.quotes

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