A report by the United Hospital Fund says "churning," the process of patients dropping out of Medicaid and then re-enrolling, is hindering Medicaid's ability to cut costs and provide quality care in New York. The state tried to move Medicaid recipients into managed care plans, but some refused to accept Medicaid patients, and the managed care programs did not cover prescription drugs, which accounts for a $30 billion chunk of the state budget.
Several states have announced they are exploring the option of purchasing Canadian drugs to cut costs, a move the FDA so far has opposed. Currently the Justice Department is taking on the owner of Rx Depot and Rx of Canada in an Oklahoma courtroom, seeking to close his 85 stores that help seniors purchase Canadian drugs; a decision is expected after Oct. 31.
Congressional negotiators conceded they will miss their Friday deadline to agree on a new drug bill. Although the target date will pass, both sides are working to make progress on several outstanding issues and will continue working to reach an overall agreement while President Bush is in Asia.
The Federal Trade Commission has asked Caremark Rx and AdvancePCS to provide additional information on Caremark's proposal to purchase AdvancePCS for $6 billion in stock and cash. The two companies say they plan to quickly respond to the request.
A new pill that helps women reduce the frequency of their periods is fueling a debate over the possible health effects of manipulating the natural cycle. Skeptics have said reducing menstruation, or stopping it altogether, may have negative long term consequences, while women using the medicine generally have found it beneficial.