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Congress and Agency Actions in the News
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  • Senate Democrats issue 'requirements' for next HHS secretary. In a joint letter to the White House, Sens. Patty Murray and Ron Wyden — the ranking members on the Senate HELP and Finance committees, respectively — petition President Donald Trump on how to pick the next leader of HHS.
  • "In light of the concerning trend of extreme, ideological policymaking at [HHS] and the serious ethical concerns resulting in former Secretary Price’s resignation, we write to outline priorities by which to evaluate any nominee for Secretary of HHS," the two senators write, before listing off 51 requirements that they say the next appointee must meet.
  • But some of those priorities set up political conflicts. For instance, the Democrats want the next secretary to "protect and improve the Medicaid program" and "support access to all approved methods of contraception at no out-of-pocket cost" — policies that many Republicans just don't support.
  • Murray and Wyden also want the next secretary to "be a careful steward of taxpayer dollars, including adhering to federal travel regulations [and] the HHS Travel Policy Manual." Read the letter.

Modern Medicine - Senate takes aim at pharmacy benefit managers’ role in rising drug costs


  • Amid concerns about the escalating cost of prescription drugs, the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held hearings this summer to frame the Senate’s efforts moving forward. The committee heard a broad variety of proposals ranging from utilizing outcomes-based payment to removing barriers for importation of Canadian medicines.
  • Eventually, the committee turned its attention to pharmaceutical supply chain structure and the role it plays in raising the cost of prescription drugs for patients. It was here that scrutiny of the muddled practices of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) intensified, and the members appeared capable of reaching a bipartisan consensus.

MedScape  - FDA Panel Backs New Drug for Opioid Use Disorder

  • The US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee has voted 18 to 1 to recommend approval of an investigational drug for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD).
  • RBP-6000 (Indivior PLC) is a once-monthly injectable formulation of buprenorphine that uses the Atrigel delivery system for the treatment of adults with moderate to severe OUD as part of a complete treatment plan that includes counseling and psychosocial support, the company said in a news release.
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