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Volume 3, Number 38
November 17, 2006


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News

Administration Opposes Democrat’s Plan For Negotiating Medicare Drug Prices
The New York Times, 11-13-06

Editor's Notes:

Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced that "in the first 100 hours" of the next Congress, she will push legislation requiring the Secretary of Health and Human Services engage in direct price negotiations for medicines purchased under the Medicare Drug Benefit. The President has already declared this to be a nonstarter. This article from the Times offers a concise summary of the arguments that both sides will likely deploy:
Continue reading . . .

New Push for Medical Legislation Expected
Baltimore Sun, 11-12-06

Editor's Notes:

The subtitle of this article should be something along the lines of "Get Ready to Rumble." With the 2008 presidential elections just around the proverbial corner—at least two presidential hopefuls in the U.S. Senate are likely to announce their candidacy in the next few months—the Democrats are eager to use their newly won control of Congress to hold public hearings highlighting their health care agenda en route to seizing the White House.
Continue reading . . .

US Buying More Generic AIDS Drugs
The Boston Globe, 11-12-06

Editor's Notes:

The Boston Globe notes that the President's much–maligned AIDS program has turned out to be as good as its word. After the FDA accelerated its approval process for generic AIDS medicines, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has spent the lion's share of its funds on inexpensive generics—an outcome that critics had said would never happen:
Continue reading . . .

Generic Biotech Drugs Backed
Los Angeles Times, 11-11-06

Editor's Notes:

This article, from the L.A. Times, opens by suggesting that Democratic control of Congress will smooth the road for so-called "generic" biotech drugs, which greedy biotech companies with an "unfair monopoly" have stymied.
Continue reading . . .

California Price Curbs Alarm Drug Makers
The Boston Globe, 11-11-06

Editor's Notes:

While the next Congress prepares to debate direct federal price negotiations for the Medicare Drug Benefit, Californians may get an early look at how government price controls affect the industry in their state. Last fall, legislation passed that allows the state to remove drugs' from the state's Medicaid formulary if drug makers don't offer "acceptable" discounts to millions of uninsured patients.
Continue reading . . .

Commentary

The Glimmering Promise of Gene Therapy
Horace Freeland Judson, Technology Review, 11-14-06

This article, from MIT's Technology Review, offers a terrific layman's summary of the history, hype, tragedy, and hope attending the search for effective gene therapy treatments.
Continue reading . . .

Learning from Vioxx
The Boston Globe, 11-14-06

The Globe offers its perspective on how Congress can help to improve the FDA's drug safety efforts:
Continue reading . . .

FDA Announces New Steps to Improve Drug Safety
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 11-13-06

On November 13, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs at the FDA, spoke at a Manhattan Institute forum in New York City on the issue of drug safety. His remarks are well worth reading in their entirety.
Continue reading . . .

A Drug Price Path to Avoid
Alberto Mingardi, Washington Post, 11-12-06

Mingardi, the director of an Italian free–market think tank, warns Rep. Nancy Pelosi that her plan to impose government negotiations on drugs in the Medicare Drug Benefit may create a health care system a lot like Italy's.
Continue reading . . .

Research

European Pharmaceutical Price Regulation, Firm Profitability, and R&D Spending
John Vernon, Joseph H. Golec, National Bureau of Economic Research Digest, 11-17-06

Golec and Vernon analyze European price controls on pharmaceuticals in an attempt to capture some of the less apparent effects of price regulations. They conclude that, while European consumers obviously benefit from lower prices, there are significant indirect costs.
Continue reading . . .

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Understanding the Employer Mind-Set
Robert S. Galvin, Suzanne Delbanco, Health Affairs, 11-1-06

This interesting article from Health Affairs probes how employers are grappling with rapidly rising health care costs. It concludes that the status quo is unlikely to change anytime soon:
Continue reading . . .


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In this week's issue:

NEWS

Administration Opposes Democrat’s Plan For Negotiating Medicare Drug Prices
New Push for Medical Legislation Expected
US Buying More Generic AIDS Drugs
Generic Biotech Drugs Backed
California Price Curbs Alarm Drug Makers

COMMENTARY

The Glimmering Promise of Gene Therapy
Learning from Vioxx
FDA Announces New Steps to Improve Drug Safety
A Drug Price Path to Avoid

RESEARCH

European Pharmaceutical Price Regulation, Firm Profitability, and R&D Spending
Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Understanding the Employer Mind-Set
Center for Medical Progress 
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