This Week in Managed Care: April 28, 2017

Published on: 

This week, the top managed care stories included President Donald Trump's nominee passing a Senate committee; community oncologists meet to discuss the Cancer Moonshot; and a study finds obesity shortens more lives than cigarettes.


A Senate Committee clears President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the FDA, community oncologists discuss the impact of the Cancer Moonshot, and obesity is shortening more lives than cigarettes.

Welcome to This Week in Managed Care, I’m Laura Joszt.

Confirming Gottlieb for FDA

Scott Gottlieb, MD, is a step closer to becoming FDA Commissioner, following this week’s vote by the Senate Health, Energy, Labor, and Pensions Committee to forward his nomination.

Gottlieb faced a host of late questions about his approach to controlling drug prices, his views on research standards, and how he would promote a healthier market for generic drugs.

In a written response, Gottlieb said: “If manufacturers inappropriately refuse to provide their product to prospective generic competitors, this would be a concern to FDA and become a matter for potential enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission.”

Gottlieb’s nomination now heads to the full Senate.

Improving OCM

A report from the Urban Institute finds that the CMS Oncology Care Model could be improved by including shared decision making by oncologists and their patients.

The 5-year pilot program seeks to shift payment for cancer care away from fee-for-service, but did not include shared decision-making in the final rule, which could lead to unnecessary treatments at the end of life.

Authors funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation wrote that the OCM focuses mostly on the economic components of value, even though CMS supports shared decision making in other programs.

The authors wrote: “These findings underscore an important distinction between moral values, which concern patient autonomy and peace of mind, and economic value, which concerns dollars and cents.”

Early results from CMS’ Oncology Care Model were on the agenda this week when the Community Oncology Alliance held its annual meeting in National Harbor, Maryland.

With the theme, “Fueling the Cancer Moonshot,” the COA meeting also discussed the impact that pharmacy benefit managers are having on the cost of cancer drugs.

See the full coverage of the COA annual meeting.

Lost Years of Life

Obesity causes Americans to lose more years of life than tobacco, according to research presented by the Cleveland Clinic at the recent meeting of the Society of General Internal Medicine.

An analysis of 2014 health data calculated how many years of life could be gained if patients adjusted several modifiable behavioral risk factors, including obesity, tobacco use, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

The results reveal both the success of decades of public health efforts to get people to quit smoking, along with the challenge of the modern epidemic of obesity.

Lead author Glen Taksler, PhD, said, “These preliminary results continue to highlight the importance of weight loss, diabetes management, and healthy eating in the US population.”

For more, visit

Join ACO Coalition in Scottsdale

AJMC will travel to Scottsdale, Arizona, next week for the spring meeting of the ACO and Emerging Healthcare Delivery Coalition.

Avik Roy, Darius Lakdawalla photos

Featured speaker Avik Roy and keynote speaker Darius Lakdawalla, PhD, lead an all-star group of faculty who will share how payment reform is advancing in this time of change in healthcare.

Coalition members will also hear about:

  • Preparing for cybersecurity attacks
  • How to address social determinants of health
  • Creating public-private partnerships to improve public health

There’s still time to join us if you register.

For all of us at the Managed Markets News Network, I’m Laura Joszt.

Thanks for joining us.