What We're Reading: Gottlieb Criticizes Pharmacy Rebates; High-Deductible Health Plans and Cancer; California Audit Faults Health Regulator

May 4, 2018

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, took aim at the federal antikickback law that protects the legal status of rebates paid by drug companies to insurers and pharmacy benefit managers; high-deductible health plans are deterring women from getting care for breast cancer; a California state audit found that health regulators have allowed substandard care to spread at nursing homes.

Gottlieb Talks About Taking Action Against Pharmacy Rebates

High-Deductible Health Plans Delay Breast Cancer Care

California Audit Slams Care at Nursing Homes

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, took aim Thursday at the federal antikickback law that protects the legal status of rebates paid by drug companies to insurers and pharmacy benefit managers, The Hill reported. Making changes could help increase competition and make drugs more affordable, he told food and drug industry attorneys. “One of the dynamics I’ve talked about before that’s driving higher and higher list prices is the system of rebates between payers and manufacturers,” Gottlieb said. “And so, what if we took on this system directly, by having the federal government reexamine the current safe harbor for drug rebates?”High-deductible health plans are deterring women from getting care for breast cancer, The New York Times reported. The paper interviewed patients, physicians, and health policy analysts detailing the effect that the plans have had on getting diagnostic imaging and biopsies, delaying treatment. Some foundations offer financial assistance to patients but not enough to prevent medical debt.A California state audit released this week found that health regulators have allowed substandard care to spread at nursing homes, and the number of incidents that could cause serious injury or death has jumped, California Healthline reported. The report singled out the Department of Public Health, saying it had not performed inspections or issued timely citations. The audit also found that the department’s nursing home licensing decisions were inconsistent and lacking in transparency.