What We're Reading: Pfizer Kickback Case; Concerns for Association Health Plans; Swallowable Sensor

Laura Joszt

Pfizer to Pay $24 Million in Kickback Settlement

As part of a settlement with the Department of Justice, Pfizer will pay the government nearly $24 million to resolve kickback allegations. According to Kaiser Health News, the lawsuit claimed that Pfizer donated to the Patient Access Network Foundation and steered Medicare patients to the foundation to cover copays for Pfizer’s drugs. Federal law does not allow drug makers to directly offer copay assistance to patients on Medicare or Medicaid.

States Worry About Association Health Plans

Association health plans that the Trump administration is promoting as a cheaper alternative to Affordable Care Act health plans could become targets for scam artists. Both blue and red states are worried that their authority over plans will be weakened and plans will be sold that have skimpy or nonexistent benefits, reported Stateline. Insurance regulators in California, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Washington have raised concerns and want states to be able to establish protections and financial stability standards, as well as being able to bar plans from doing business in their states.

Swallowable Sensor Can Provide Insight Into the Gut

A prototype of a swallowable sensor that can send results to a smartphone app will provide a peek into the digestive system. STAT reported that the sensor could help understand why the digestive system isn’t working properly or a new way to diagnose diseases. The new tool uses engineered bacteria and a tiny electrical circuit to detect other molecules in the digestive tract.
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