What We're Reading: Iowa Seeks to Change ACA; Teaching About Drug Costs; FDA Rejects Neulasta Biosimilar

Iowa Proposes State Changes to ACA

In Iowa, officials are seeking to alter major parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to The Wall Street Journal, the state would revamp the ACA’s subsidies and offer just 1 type of insurance plan. The White House has already said it is open to state altering how the ACA works within a state’s borders. The Iowa Insurance Commissioner has called the proposal a stopgap that would only remain in place until Republicans in Congress pass a bill to change the ACA at the national level.

Educating Doctors on Drug Costs

A former drug salesman is teaching doctors about high drug costs in an effort to save millions of dollars. He works for Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan (CDPHP) and also educates doctors on the strategies used to sell expensive prescriptions, reported Kaiser Health News. Insurers are also taking other steps to fight back against rising drug costs, such as educating doctors on pill effectiveness or removing high-cost drugs from coverage. CDPHP is working to educate doctors on prices because they are often unaware of the cost of the treatments they order.

FDA Declines Approval of Neulasta Biosimilar

Amgen may have lost its biosimilar case before the Supreme Court regarding Sandoz’s Zarxio, a biosimilar of Amgen’s Neupogen, but it gained a different victory thanks to the FDA. Reuters reported that a biosimilar to Amgen’s Neulasta was not approved by the FDA. Neulasta is used to reduce the risk in patients with cancer of developing febrile neutropenia, a low count of neutrophils, which help the body fight infection. Coherus BioSciences’ biosimilar was not approved as the FDA requested a re-analysis of certain data. Neulasta currently generates about $4.6 billion in sales.