What we're reading, January 12, 2017: Republicans begin process of repealing Obamacare by passing budget resolution; AbbVie's CEO promises to keep drug price increases to once a year and less than 10%; Cardinal Health will pay $44 million for not reporting suspicious opioid orders.
Republicans began the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act with a budget resolution that was passed 51-48. According to CNN, the Senate voted along party lines with 1 member absent and Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) voting against the budget resolution. Paul has been vocal that a repeal of Obamacare should not be passed until a replacement has been created. The vote on the bill lasted well into the night, finishing up just before 1:30 am on Thursday. The House is expected to vote as early as Friday on the resolution.
Another drug maker has publicly promised to curb drug price increases. AbbVie’s CEO said at the annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference that the company would raise prices once this year and all drug prices would stay under 10%, reported Reuters. The announcement follows similar ones from Allergan and Novo Nordisk and came on the same day that President-elect Donald J. Trump said in a news conference that pharmaceutical companies were “getting away with murder” for what they charged for medicines, causing stocks for drug companies to fall sharply.
As part of an agreement with the Department of Justice, Cardinal Health will pay $44 million in fines for not alerting the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of suspicious orders of opioids. Distributors must alert the DEA of suspicious orders, but as part of a settlement in 2012, Cardinal acknowledged that it did not do so in Florida, Maryland, and New York, reported The Washington Post. This is not the first time Cardinal has reached such a settlement and paid large fines—in 2008, the company paid $34 million to settle similar allegations.