EpiPen maker Mylan agreed to pay $465 million as part of a final settlement deal with the Justice Department, resolving claims that the firm overcharged the US government by misclassifying the epinephrine auto-injector as a generic product under Medicaid's Drug Rebate Program while it was being marketed and priced as a branded treatment. The settlement, which requires Mylan to reclassify EpiPen and pay rebates applicable to its new classification effective April 1, was criticized by several lawmakers who believe the settlement is too low.
HHS has postponed until July 2018 the effective date of a new rule that would have reduced ceiling prices for medications purchased by hospitals under the 340B drug discount program, and would have given the agency the authority to fine drug manufacturers that intentionally overcharge a hospital. HHS said the decision to delay the rule, which was supposed to take effect in April, will give the agency more time to consider alternative and supplemental regulatory provisions.
Empathy is a new buzzword in workplace wellness, and one study showed 60% of employees said they would take less pay to work for an empathetic employer, writes Michele Bell of Cognoa. Creating a culture of empathy begins with understanding employees' backgrounds and needs, and offering a variety of family health and financial wellness benefits.
A healthy office should be mentally challenging, focus on health, wellness and happiness, and consider emotional awareness and interpersonal dynamics, according to Jeff Buenrostro, the "chief people officer" of Metric Theory in Denver. The company has an Engaged Management program for supervisors that shows them how to redirect employee stress, recognizing personal stress as separate from professional stress.
Researchers analyzed data on diabetes from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index and found that the disease accounts for 9.3% of the health impact of more than 200 conditions on commercially insured US adults, with the highest impact seen in communities in the Central South and Southeast regions. The findings also showed that the health impact of diabetes continues to grow, especially among patients ages 18 to 34.
CDC researchers found that more than 85% of adolescents ages 12 to 17 and 81% of young adults ages 18 to 24 who wear contact lenses reported at least one habit that may increase their odds of developing eye infections. The findings in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report also showed that failure to visit an eye doctor once a year and failure to replace lenses as prescribed were among the most prevalent risky behaviors reported by both teens and young adults.
The Fairfax County Park Authority in Virginia has put new vending machines in county parks that offer healthier snack options. Wellness coordinator Elizabeth Ittner says the biggest challenge has been getting people to accept that vending machines can offer healthy foods.
Pharmacy benefit managers are expected to update formularies next month regarding coverage of Johnson & Johnson's Remicade and its two biosimilar versions: Pfizer's Inflectra and Merck & Co. and Samsung's Renflexis. "[W]ith two competing options for a multibillion-dollar drug, PBMs have an opportunity to leverage prices down and provide consumers with a cheaper option," writes Max Nisen.
Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Peter Welch, D-Vt., sent letters to the heads of seven drugmakers, asking about dramatic price increases on multiple sclerosis drugs. A study published in Neurology found evidence of so-called shadow pricing, or raising prices when competitors do.
Novo Nordisk's semaglutide, a long-acting version of Victoza, or liraglutide, reduced blood glucose levels and weight better than Eli Lilly and Co.'s Trulicity in a study sponsored by Novo Nordisk. "Novo will now be in a strong position when discussing semaglutide with payers, having demonstrated superiority vs. the competition and also the added CV benefit, which Lilly has yet to do," wrote Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal.
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