FDA

Opinion: To Keep Drug Costs Low, Think Competition, Not Price Controls
A robust, competitive market is the best way to promote innovation and reduce prices

If we truly want to reduce drug costs and make life-changing medications accessible to all Americans, we must increase competition among prescription drugs, Hatch writes. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

Even in today’s highly partisan environment, there’s one thing nearly all Americans agree on: The soaring cost of prescription drugs is alarming.

In fact, 80 percent of Americans consider the cost of prescription drugs unreasonable. At the same time, a majority of Americans recognize that prescription drugs have improved countless lives. The president’s recently unveiled comprehensive blueprint to lower prescription drug costs has many ideas worthy of exploration. However, if we truly want to reduce costs and make life-changing and life-saving medications accessible to all Americans, we must increase competition among prescription drugs — particularly new drugs that have the ability to cure diseases, but face limited competition.

Childhood Cancer Measure Nears Bipartisan Win
Advocates had concerns over congressional, White House prioritizing Right to Try

Childhood cancer groups are pleased with the progress of the measure President Donald Trump is on the verge of signing. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Groups who push for progress against childhood cancer see President Donald Trump’s imminent signing of a bill to enhance research in the field as a significant win after they grew frustrated with Congress and the administration’s pursuit of higher-profile legislation to expand access to experimental treatments.

The cancer legislation would let the Health and Human Services Department set up demonstration projects for childhood cancer survivors. Even after successful treatment, these patients can experience effects from their cancer, such as cardiovascular issues, intellectual handicaps and emotional trauma.

Health Officials Hit Back at Critics of Trump’s Drug Price Plan
As Democrats say the president’s plan is weak, Azar calls it a ”fundamental potential restructuring” of the American economy

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, shown here at the White House last week, defended the president’s drug plan on Monday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Top administration health officials on Monday defended President Donald Trump’s plan to address high prescription drug prices, which has drawn criticism from both the industry and those who see it as a capitulation to drug companies.

In a speech Monday in the foyer of the Health and Human Services Department, Secretary Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical company executive, took direct aim at the industry. He said drug companies were offering the American people a false choice between the development of life-saving innovations and affordability.

Opinion: From the Vatican, a Challenge to Bring Promise to Patients
Conference urges support for innovations in science and medicine in a collaborative, safe and ethical manner

The Pontifical Council for Culture and the Cura Foundation hosted the “Unite to Cure” conference at the Vatican last month. (Courtesy the Cura Foundation/Unite To Cure: Fourth International Vatican Conference)

The power of medical research is rapidly moving from the lab to the patient.

Since the 21st Century Cures Act was passed in 2016, we’ve seen exponential progress in personalized, data-driven medicine and regenerative and gene therapies that will help prevent and treat disease, and even cure patients. Swift advances in science hold great promise for patients in need. At the same time, we must maintain our national standards for safety and ethical responsibility.

Trump Targets Drug Pricing in Trade Agreements
‘It’s unfair, it’s ridiculous and it’s not going to happen any longer’

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testifies during a Ways and Means Committee hearing on the FY2019 budget for HHS in Longworth Building on February 14, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump has instructed trade ambassador Robert Lighthizer to grant the drug industry’s wish of making pharmaceutical prices a “top priority” in negotiations with other countries.

Trump revealed the instruction during a Friday announcement unveiling the administration’s overall strategy for lowering drug costs.

Boehner Joins Marijuana Board After Years of Opposition to Legalization
Hopes to reverse opioid epidemic

Former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined the board of a cannabis corporation. (Tom Williams/Roll Call via Getty Images file photo)

When it comes to marijuana, former Speaker John A. Boehner has gone from “hell no you can’t” to supporting the board of a cannabis corporation.

Acreage Holdings, which calls itself “one of the nation’s largest, multi-state actively-managed cannabis corporations” announced the former speaker joined the company’s board of advisers.

Hoyer Listening Tour Gathers Ideas for Unifying Economic Agenda
Latest iteration of Make It In America agenda can be used in quest for House majority

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., right, and Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., left, tour Culimeta-Saveguard, an exhaust insulation manufacturing facility in Eau Claire, Wis., last week during Hoyer’s Make It In America listening tour.(Lindsey McPherson/CQ Roll Call)

MADISON, Wis. — As progressives and moderates battle it out in primaries, national Democrats like House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer are crafting an economic agenda their candidates can use to help them win back the House in November.

House Democrats across the political spectrum understand that without a strong economic message with crossover appeal, they will be relegated to another two years in the minority.

Senate Panel Unveils Draft Bill to Combat Opioid Addiction
HELP Committee expected to discuss legislation next week

The Senate HELP Committee, led by Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander and Washington’s Patty Murray, has already held six hearings on the opioid crisis so far this Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate health panel on Wednesday released a discussion draft intended to curb opioid addiction. The development comes as other House and Senate committees also prepare legislation.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee plans to discuss this legislation at an upcoming hearing on April 11. The panel has already held six hearings on the opioid crisis so far this Congress featuring representatives from agencies including the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as governors from states affected by the crisis.

House Outcome on 'Right to Try' Bill Uncertain
Even if it passes, Senate chances are not clear either

House members filed back into the Capitol on Tuesday as the chamber prepared to consider a so-called Right-to-Try measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Tuesday evening was poised to vote on a bill intended to give dying patients greater access to experimental treatments, but it was unclear whether Republican leaders had enough votes to pass it under a fast-track process. Even if it does pass, the sponsor of the Senate version said it was uncertain how the Senate might respond.

House Democratic leaders were opposing the bill, mostly over the process Republicans used. Republicans released the so-called “Right to Try” bill at about 12:30 a.m. early Saturday morning, and on Sunday, leaders said it would get a vote on Tuesday under suspension of the rules, which does not allow amendments and requires approval from two-thirds of those present to pass. About 50 House Democrats would have to join Republicans in order for it to pass, or more if some GOP lawmakers break with their party.

Federal Officials Push for New Types of Flu Vaccines
The FDA has not approved a new class of antivirals in the last 20 years

Kentucky Rep. Brett Guthrie and Julie Philip of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores get flu vaccinations during a health fair in the Rayburn Building in 2014. Federal officials told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee this week that vaccines remain “stuck in the old technologies.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The heads of multiple health agencies told a House subcommittee Thursday that both the government and industry need to invest more resources in researching new forms of flu vaccines in light of this year’s epidemic.

Vaccines are often developed using egg-based technology, but newer cell-based and recombinant DNA technologies offer more speed and flexibility for fighting viruses — like the flu — that mutate frequently. While the technology offers promise, it remains uncommon, with lingering gaps in technology.