What We're Reading: Gottlieb Discusses Drug Pricing; VA Chief Might Be Replaced; Opioid Data Hard to Use

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FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD discussed the agency's role in tackling drug prices in an interview; President Trump is considering firing the head of the VA; measuring the extent of the opioid crisis with available data is more difficult than it seems.

Gottlieb Discusses FDA Role in Combatting High Drug Prices

Trump May Replace Shulkin at VA With Perry From Energy

Using Available Data to Tally Opioid Crisis More Difficult Than Expected

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, is the public face of the Trump administration’s effort to lower the cost of prescription drugs. In an interview with The Hill, he said getting involved in the drug pricing debate is part of the agency’s mission. Separately, former congressman Henry Waxman spoke with Stat News about his thoughts regarding drug prices. President Trump is considering firing David Shulkin, MD, the secretary of veterans affairs, in favor of Energy Secretary Rick Perry, according to The New York Times. The dispute stems from a struggle over the extent of privatization efforts at the VA, the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States, providing care at 1243 healthcare facilities to over 9 million veterans. Perry has no healthcare experience.An editor at ProPublica described his efforts to compile data on opioid prescribing, overdoses, deaths, and treatment options, but found the task more difficult than he expected. Making conclusions was difficult since data were out of date, hard to find, and/or contradicted other data, the report said.