What We're Reading: Changing How Medicine Is Bought

What we're reading, February 10, 2016: 2 companies change how consumers purchase medicines online; CMS memo reveals the government is mulling changes to Medicare reimbursement; and Johns Hopkins will transplant HIV-positive organs to HIV-positive recipients.

Transparency is often cited as one of the best ways lower drug prices, and now 2 companies are pulling back the curtain to change how consumers purchase medicines. In a new article, The New York Times highlighted GoodRx, which collects drug prices and connects consumers with coupons, and Blink Health, which allows consumers to purchase drugs online and pick them up at nearly any pharmacy. The price quotes on these sites are for generic drugs, but they cannot help much with brand-name drugs.

A new memo from CMS has revealed that there may be changes coming for how Medicare pays physicians. However, the document has since been taken down from CMS’ website, and its release called “premature,” reported Bloomberg Business. According to the memo, a new payment system would allow reimbursement to doctors for the drugs they administer to vary by geographic location.

Johns Hopkins will become the first hospital in the United States to transplant organs from HIV-positive donors to HIV-positive recipients. Until recently, such use of organs from HIV-positive individuals was illegal in the US, but South Africa has been allowing these transplants for several years with positive outcomes, according to The Washington Post. The US passed a law in late 2013 legalizing the use of HIV-positive organs for HIV-positive recipients.