What We're Reading: Drug Price Hikes; NYC Rejects US Funding Over Gag Rule; Addressing Maternal Mortality

July 2, 2019

Pharmaceutical makers issued drug price increases on more than 40 drugs by an average 13.1%; New York City's public hospital system will reject $1.3 million in federal funding over the Trump administration's gag rule; Virginia has announced efforts to lower maternal mortality among black women.

Pharmaceutical Makers Hike Drug Prices for More Than 40 Products

Twenty pharmaceutical makers opened up the month of July with price hikes on over 40 drugs by an average 13.1%. B. Braun Medical Inc. issued over a dozen price increases, including a more than 50% increase on its hospital-administered antibiotic cefazolin, which will now cost more than $9 a package. The drug, which has been on the market for decades, is currently in short supply. Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Fortovia Therapeutics, Cerecor issued price hikes of nearly 10% on some of their drugs. According to The Wall Street Journal, some of the biggest drug makers did not raise prices, but they could do so later this month. Last July, 16 drug makers raised list prices of drugs by an average 7.8%.

De Blasio Rejects Federal Funds Over Gag Rule

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that the city’s public hospital system will reject $1.3 million in federal funding over the Trump administration’s so-called “gag rule” that revokes Title X funds for clinics that perform abortion or make abortion referrals, reported Bloomberg. Currently, 22 New York City-based providers receive Title X funding for more than 50 centers throughout the city, including the 10 public hospitals that receive $1.3 million in funding under the program. The hospitals will continue to offer full reproductive care, according to de Blasio, who said no public hospital in the city will be prohibited from providing truthful advice to their patients.

Virginia Medicaid Will Try to Lower Maternal Mortality

The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services has announced a new outreach program and other initiatives to try and lower the maternal mortality of black women, including technology upgrades to mitigate delays in healthcare treatment for pregnant women on Medicaid. The Associated Press reported that the agency also said that it’s trying to increase treatment for pregnant women with substance use disorders. The announcement comes a month after Governor Ralph Northam, D-Virginia, announced the goal of eliminating the racial disparity of mortality rates by 2025. African American mothers are 3.5 times more likely to die in childbirth, or shortly afterward, than white women.