What we're reading, November 20, 2015: CMS wants to penalize doctors for ordering routine prostate-cancer screening tests; lawmakers, patients, and advocates call for head of Drug Enforcement Agency to be fired; and specialty drug costs exceed household incomes.
CMS Looking to Penalize Doctors Ordering Routine Prostate Tests
Doctors who order routine prostate-cancer screening tests for their patients could be penalized by Medicare as part of an effort to define quality in healthcare. According to the Wall Street Journal, in just the past 2 days, the proposal has garnered more than 200 comments, virtually all in opposition because the measure would discourage doctors from discussing the pros and cons of screening for prostate-specific antigen with their patients. The comment period ends Friday.
Lawmakers Call for Removal of DEA Head
Lawmakers from both parties are calling on President Obama to fire the acting leader of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Chuck Rosenberg. The lawmakers and nearly 100,000 people who have signed an online petition are calling for Rosenberg’s removal after calling medical marijuana “a joke,” reported the Washington Post. Earlier he had commented that marijuana was “probably not” as dangerous as heroin.
Specialty Drug Costs Exceed Median Household Income
Prices for specialty drugs reached an average annual cost of more than $53,000 in 2013, which exceeds the median US household income of $52,250, according to an AARP Public Policy Institute report. The annual cost, which is calculated for specialty medications used on a chronic basis, is more than twice the median income for people on Medicare and almost 3-and-a-half times higher than the average Social Security retirement benefit, reported Drug Store News.