What We're Reading: FDA Approvals; Sanofi Caps Price Hikes; BCBS Steps into Tenn. Marketplace

FDA Approvals Up Sharply in 2017

Less than half of the way through 2017, the FDA has approved almost as many new treatments as it had for the entire year of 2016. According to Fortune, the slow pace of approvals in 2016 was an anomaly compared to the previous 2 years when 45 (2014) and 41 (2015) therapies were approved. However, the approvals so far in 2017 have been important with several drugs that are the first to treat certain diseases in the United States.

Sanofi Limits Drug Price Increases

More and more drug makers are beginning to self-police the industry when it comes to limiting drug price increases, and Sanofi has taken a unique and strict step. While many companies have promised to keep increases under 10%, Sanofi plans to tie drug price increases to the national health expenditures growth projection rate, reported Reuters. In 2017, that would limit price increases to 5.4%. The company has said that tying drug price increases to the inflation rate ensures the company “is not contributing to further medical inflation.”

BCBS Steps Into Empty Tennessee Marketplace

After Humana decided it was exiting all the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges, 16 counties in Tennessee were at risk of having no insurer offering exchange plans next year. However, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST) is stepping up to the plate and will offer plans in the Knoxville region for 2018, according to The Wall Street Journal. BCBST had exited the Knoxville market for 2017, but is interested in returning now that its financial performance in the ACA exchanges has improved.