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What We're Reading: Hatch Opposes IPI; Stem Cell Injections; Cigna–Express Scripts Deal Closes

AJMC Staff
Outgoing Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is urging fellow Republicans to oppose President Donald Trump’s International Pricing Index; after 12 patients became seriously ill from stem cell injections, the FDA issued a warning to the company that made the product and sent a letter to 20 clinics warning them that stem cell products should be regulated by the agency; Cigna has finalized its $54 billion purchase of Express Scripts.

Senator Orrin Hatch Opposes Trump’s International Pricing Index

Outgoing Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is urging fellow Republicans to oppose President Donald Trump’s International Pricing Index, which would allow Medicare to pay the price other countries pay for certain drugs. According to The Hill, Hatch believes the proposal would curb innovation and deprive patients of future treatment breakthroughs. Hatch also criticized the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which he believes has too much power to make changes to Medicare.

 

FDA Cracking Down on Stem Cell Injection Clinics

After 12 patients became seriously ill from stem cell injections, the FDA issued a warning to the company that made the product and sent a letter to 20 clinics warning them that stem cell products should be regulated by the agency. In the letter, the FDA encouraged the clinics to speak with regulators before 2020, when enforcement of stem cell products will tighten, reported The New York Times. These clinics are located all across the country and offer unapproved stem cell treatments to treat a variety of diseases without proof that they are effective or safe. The 12 hospitalized patients received injections to treat painful conditions like arthritis or injuries, and they all contracted infections in their bloodstreams or joints.

 

Cigna and Express Scripts Finalize Deal

Cigna has finalized its $54 billion purchase of Express Scripts, which creates one of the biggest pharmacy benefits and insurance plans in the United States. According to Reuters, the deal puts Cigna in direct competition with Aetna, which purchased CVS Health, and UnitedHealth Group, which purchased Optum. The Department of Justice cleared the deal on September 17.

 
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