What We're Reading: ACA Insurer Payments; Opioid Hospitalizations; Drug Sales to Decline

Trump Makes ACA Payments to Insurers

The Trump administration has made the long-awaited cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for the month of June. According to The Wall Street Journal, the uncertainty around the payments had made it difficult for insurers to make decisions about ACA coverage options in 2018. While the administration has made these payments every month, the president has openly stated that he might stop them. There is speculation that the Senate’s healthcare bill could include $10 billion a year in 2018 and 2019 for these payments.

Opioid Hospitalizations Doubled in Last Decade

Emergency department visits related to opioid problems have doubled over the last decade and inpatient stays are growing by 64%, according to a new report. The Los Angeles Times reported that the rate of hospital admissions from 2004 to 2014 increased 55% for men and 75% for women. Adults between the ages of 25 and 44 were most likely to be admitted to the hospital for opioid-related problems, followed closely by adults ages 45 to 64. However, the rate of members of the older group being admitted grew faster compared with the younger group over the last decade.

Global Drug Sales Projected to Decline

Pricing pressures in the United States are expected to contribute to the first decline in global drug sales in a decade. Drug sales are expected to hit $1.06 trillion in 2022, which is down from the $1.12 trillion predicted last year, according to Reuters. In addition to political and public scrutiny of drug pricing, some new drugs—such as the PCSK9 inhibitors Praluent and Repatha—have had disappointing sales, which contributed to the lower forecast.