POLITICO - The Senate is expected to pass a sweeping opioid crisis response package this week, paving the way for a final agreement between the two chambers. Even without direct savings, patients could benefit from lowered costs of hospital-administered drugs if the hospitals use that money to increase other services, says HPM's WALID GELLAD.
NEW YORK TIMES - One of the world’s top breast cancer doctors failed to disclose millions of dollars in payments from drug and health care companies in recent years, omitting his financial ties from dozens of research articles in prestigious publications like The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet. “If leaders don’t follow the rules, then we don’t really have rules,” says HPM's WALID GELLAD.
PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES - The winners of Pittsburgh Business Times’ 30 Under 30 awards program represent a diverse group of young professionals who are being recognized as up-and-coming executives, innovators, and thought leaders who will shape the future of Pittsburgh. ABBY MILES (HPM '13), manager of business analytics at Jewish Association on Aging is among the 2018 class.
Congratulations to YARA ELBESHBISHI (HPM '16) for receiving the 2018 Ivan and Mary Novick Award for Young Alumni Leadership. This is a highly competitive award that was established by the Novick family to recognize and honor young alumni who have enriched the life of the University of Pittsburgh though their volunteer leadership efforts. The award will be presented at the Alumni Association's 2018 Homecoming Awards Luncheon in October.
BIOPHARMA DRIVE - Scott Gotlieb, FDA commissioner, has been very vocal on twitter as a way to communicate the FDA's goals and to invite public comment and scrutiny. Stakeholders both inside and outside the agency have given Gottlieb credit for both transparency and effort. However, there are risks to the volume and pace of Gottlieb's methods, says HPM's WALID GELLAD.
NEW YORK TIMES - A group of economists is suggesting that many small tweaks, such as reigning in long-term care hospitals, could tame health care spending. HPM's JEREMY KAHN said there are some patients with particular ailments who benefit from the setting, but agreed with the economists that the hospitals are a historical accident, defined more by payment rules than patient needs.
THE INCLINE - Scent with Love, the all-volunteer organization takes donated flowers from weddings and other events and brings them to places like the Children’s Home in Bloomfield, Bethlehem Haven in Bluff, and Family House in Oakland and Shadyside. The organization was founded by SHANNON HALDEMAN (HPM '20), who knows that walking in to a new hospital can be intimidating for some patients and families. The flowers are a welcome addition.
WESA-FM - A new health insurance rule from the Trump administration is being criticized by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. The policy would jeopardize those who buy health insurance on the individual market. "If only sick people enter the individual market place, premiums become completely unaffordable," said HPM's ERIC ROBERTS.
NPR - The governor of Arizona removed a doctor from the state's Medicaid drug committee and issued an executive order requiring disclosure of financial conflicts in response to a joint investigation by NPR and the Center for Public Integrity Investigation. Walid Gellad, HPM professor, says disclosing financial ties should be standard practice, especially for people serving on decision-making boards. "At least they can be out in the open."
STAT NEWS - Over the past week, the Trump administration has begun to clarify their proposals to lower drug prices. “They’re clearly still in early stages – a plan is still a plan, and a proposed rule can be a proposed rule for a long time, and a workgroup is just a workgroup,” said HPM's WALID GELLAD. “But we’re ahead of where we were six months ago.”
CBS PITTSBURGH - Congratulations to HEATHER TOMKO (HPM '19), who was crowned Miss Wheelchair USA on Saturday, July 21, 2018. Born with spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic neuromuscular disease, she graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a bachelor of science in mechanical and biomedical engineering. She also won the Invacare People’s Choice Award and the Dr. Georgi Hudson Smith Quest for Knowledge Award.
STAT NEWS - As political pressure on the pharmaceutical industry builds, Merck has become the latest big drug maker to commit to halting price hikes. In a brief statement, the company agreed not to increase the average net prices of its medicines by more than inflation annually. “We’re now seeing an effort to address pricing that we haven’t seen before,” said HPM's Walid Gellad.
POLITICO - The payment deal for Kymriah therapy drew internal HHS scrutiny and is the target of current congressional investigations of Swiss drug giant Novartis. The company's pivotal study of the drug's in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia found that at one year, about one out of every three patients the government would be covering would get sick again, said INMACULADA HERNANDEZ (HPM '16).
POLITICO - President Donald Trump in May said that drugmakers would soon announce “massive” price cuts, and his administration rolled out a plan to bring down the cost of medicines. But the companies don’t appear to have gotten that message. “The bully pulpit can't make fundamental change — it can provide perhaps a short-term victory... but it can’t do what the administration said it was going to do,” said WALID GELLAD, HPM professor.
A recent study, led by HPM’s ERIC ROBERTS has been named the 2018 Article-of-the-YearAcademyHealth, a leading national research center focused on advancing the fields of health services research and health policy. Entitled "The Value-Based Payment Modifier: Program Outcomes and Implications for Disparities," the work studied a precursor to the merit-based incentive payment system, Medicare’s new pay-for-performance program for physicians.