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Rx Drugs

March 10, 2003 | Daily News

The White House is refuting media reports on the out-of-pocket prescription drug protection outlined under President Bush's Medicare framework for beneficiaries remaining in traditional fee-for-service Medicare.

"Virtually every number you have read including the so-called $5,000 to $7,000 number… is a total and utter fabrication," Doug Badger, the White House's top health care policy advisor, told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last week. The White House has not specified what this coverage is, Badger noted during his March 6 Chamber address.

March 05, 2003 | Daily News

The pharmaceutical industry is signaling possible legal action over a new state initiative to lower Medicaid prescription drug prices -- a venture based on a Michigan program the drug industry is fighting in federal court.

Vermont and Michigan have announced plans to implement the nation's first multi-state Medicaid prescription drug purchasing pool. It aims to combine participating states purchasing power to negotiate deeper drug discounts under Medicaid.

March 04, 2003 | Daily News

Maine's outgoing top health care official has criticized federal inaction on the Maine prescription drug assistance program struck down by a court last year and voiced opposition to President Bush's Medicaid reform plan.

"To me, it cannot be explained or defended that we have not had [Healthy Maine Prescriptions] restored," Kevin Concannon, Maine's human services department (DHS) commissioner, said at a Feb. 13 AARP meeting -- one day before leaving his DHS position.

March 03, 2003 | Daily News

NEW YORK--Key industry lawyers are urging the biotechnology industry to take an active role in shaping an abbreviated approval pathway for generic versions of biologics, arguing the advent of generic biologics are inevitable. Panelists at a Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) CEO and Investor Conference in New York last week discussed potential scenarios, emphasizing that the law will eventually follow the science.

February 28, 2003 | Daily News

The Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee plans to investigate whether additional group purchasing organization (GPO) reforms are needed, examine drug competition and propose anti-trust law reforms to foster competition among its priorities for 2003.

Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights chair Mike DeWine (R-OH) and ranking member Herb Kohl (D-WI) unveiled the subcommittee's 2003 agenda in a Feb. 25 press release.

February 26, 2003 | Daily News

The House Republican leadership is calling for Medicare reform legislation to reach the House floor by the end of May, according to House GOP aides. The request mirrors the Medicare deadline GOP leaders set last year.

Aides indicate GOP leaders have asked for the bill be bought to the floor by late May, with one staffer adding that House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) requested a Memorial Day deadline.

February 25, 2003 | Daily News

The fiscally conservative House Democrat Blue Dog Coalition is again attempting to craft a Medicare prescription drug benefit, according to a House aide. The move is of note as House Republicans have in the past relied in part on Blue Dog support to pass their Medicare reform legislation.

February 21, 2003 | Daily News

Informal talks of World Trade Organization ministers aimed at brokering a deal on access to medicines failed to find a solution, even as the United States tried to show new flexibility by signaling it is willing to accept an open-ended scope of diseases if only African countries are eligible to import generic medicines.

February 20, 2003 | Daily News

Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced on Tuesday (Feb. 18) he has introduced legislation that would slap fines on drug manufacturers who refuse to provide drugs to Canadian wholesalers that sell to U.S. citizens. The legislation is a response to GlaxoSmithKline's decision to no longer supply drugs to Canadian wholesalers and pharmacies that export medicines outside Canada.

Sanders also plans to soon reintroduce legislation that would allow pharmacists and wholesalers to reimport drugs, according to a Sanders' spokesperson.

February 18, 2003 | Daily News

The U.S. government and its pharmaceutical industry are assessing a proposed WTO statement limiting the use of more flexible patent rules to see if it establishes legally binding limits that could inform a future dispute settlement panel, according to delegation and industry sources.

February 14, 2003 | Daily News

In a move that has triggered controversy, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has invited select health care experts to a high-profile meeting on Medicare reform, according to several sources. The Feb. 19 meeting, which is slated to run for 10 hours, has already attracted criticism because it will include neither Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who was not involved in its planning, nor representatives of many health care groups who are wondering why they were not invited.

February 13, 2003 | Daily News

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) today (Feb. 13) said he does not view the tripartisan plan as the foundation for building a Medicare reform/prescription drug bill.

Seeking to build a bipartisan bill in the Senate Finance Committee from "the ground up," Frist said the tripartisan plan, like President Bush's Medicare reform principles, is a "good starting point" but added, "I would not view it necessarily as the base bill from which things are added or taken away."

February 12, 2003 | Daily News

Following widespread criticism of the Bush administration's draft plan to reform Medicare, congressional Republicans are urging the White House not to propose a specific prescription drug proposal. Instead, GOP lawmakers want the administration to release vague principles on Medicare reform -- as it did in 2001.

February 10, 2003 | Daily News

Attempts by both the European Union and Japan to find a compromise to deadlocked World Trade Organization (WTO) talks on more flexible drug patent rules fell flat last week, as African countries rejected any limitations on the scope of diseases and the United States made no movement toward agreeing to a broader scope for an agreement.

February 10, 2003 | Daily News

The chairman of the WTO Council on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Feb. 10 asked the World Trade Organization General Council for another week to see if the United States and other key players will sign on to an agreement giving countries the right to source production of generic drugs abroad now that he has proposed a compromise designed to limit use of these rights to dealing with national emergencies.

February 05, 2003 | Daily News

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) says he was pleasantly surprised by new government estimates on Medicare beneficiary drug spending, adding that he expected the projections to be much higher.

February 04, 2003 | Daily News

In a surprising new development which could provide new momentum for the enactment of a drug benefit this year, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last night informed Capitol Hill officials that it is estimating only a slight increase in aggregate spending for outpatient prescription drugs used by Medicare beneficiaries over the next 10 years. In a Feb. 3 memo obtained by Inside CMS, CBO states that spending for Medicare beneficiaries will total $1.84 trillion between 2004-2013, which is only a 4 percent increase over that projected for 2003-2012.

February 04, 2003 | Daily News

The day before he gave his State of the Union address President Bush sent a letter to the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) praising the group for its efforts to provide affordable medicines, maintaining that generic drugs save consumers billions of dollars in prescription drug costs.

February 03, 2003 | Daily News

The European Union told World Trade Organization members last week that its proposal to break a deadlock in negotiations on access to generic medicines would not limit the scope of diseases covered by a solution, but was designed to use input from the World Health Organization to allay U.S. fears about an overly broad application of the more flexible patent rules under discussion.

February 03, 2003 | Daily News

A pharmacy group is asking the state attorneys general of Nebraska and Illinois to look into what the groups says are illegal sales of Canadian drugs by Sav-Rx, a firm operating in the two states. Kiwanis, a community-service club, has severed links with the discounted mail-order prescription drug company after the National Community Pharmacists Association alerted Kiwanis to the allegedly illegal actions.

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