What We're Reading: Renegotiating PDUFA; Americans Increase Exercise; Reducing Medical Waste

Bipartisan Support Expected for PDUFA

Most attention has been focused on the House GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill and the legislation being drafted now in the Senate, but there are other big healthcare bills that need to be voted on. According to Reuters, the bill to reauthorize the Prescription Drug User Fee Act is expected to be approved with bipartisan support. The bill, which has to be renegotiated every 5 years, hammers out the details of how much money the FDA collects from drug makers and medical device companies in order to review new products. Currently, industry pays roughly 60% of the cost of the reviews, while taxpayers fund the rest.

Majority of Americans Exercise Enough

For the first time, more than half of Americans are getting the recommended amount of leisurely physical activity. A decade ago, the share of Americans exercising enough was much lower, hovering around 40%. Adults are recommended to get either 150 minutes of moderate movement or 75 minutes of intense exercise every week. However, despite the increase in exercise, metabolic diseases, which are tied to low levels of physical activity, have not declined.

Cutting Out Wasteful Medical Tests

Although it is well known that needless medical tests create unnecessary costs for the healthcare system, trimming the waste isn’t easy. A new article from Kaiser Health News highlights the struggle of changing behavior to save money and lives. In California, the 3 biggest healthcare purchasers are working together to reduce unnecessary tests, and although progress has been slow, unnecessary lab tests have been reduced by 10% simply through educating doctors and patients about overuse. The ABIM Foundation, which launched the Choosing Wisely campaign, expects that massive changes could take as long as 15 years.