The House Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as the Education and Labor Committee, passed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act; Juul Labs will suspend online sales of several types of flavored e-cigarette pods; a trio of employer groups has formed a new partnership to advocate for policies that address the problem of ever-increasing drug costs.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed an amended version of HR 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, by a vote of 30-22, The Associated Press reported. The bill, which was also passed in the Education and Labor Committee, aims to lower prescription drug costs by giving the federal government the ability to negotiate price based on an international pricing index and sets a $2000 out-of-pocket limit in Medicare Part D, among other things. Peter Bach, MD, who heads the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, set up an important question with the bill by asking the right balance is between fostering innovation and keeping drugs affordable. But given the breakdown between Pelosi and President Donald Trump over Trump's impeachment, the outcome is uncertain.Juul Labs will suspend online sales of several types of flavored e-cigarette pods: mango, crème, fruit and cucumber. Three other flavors—mint, menthol, and tobacco—will continue to be sold online and in stores. Separately, the CDC said that there are at least 1479 lung injury cases and 33 deaths linked to vaping, although most, but not all, of the people who have fallen ill have used illicit THC products, The Washington Post reported.A trio of employer groups has formed a new partnership to advocate for policies that address the problem of ever-increasing drug costs, The Center for Biosimilars® reported. The Pacific Business Group on Health, the ERISA Industry Committee, and the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions announced a new initiative, called the Employers’ Prescription for Affordable Drugs, that they say seeks to drive the passage of legislation that will promote competition, transparency, and value in the marketplace. Collectively, the groups represent the largest purchaser of healthcare in the United States, purchasing care for more than 153 million individuals.