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Rx Drugs

May 14, 2003 | Daily News

GOP members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are meeting this afternoon to try to close divisions within their ranks that have delayed the markup of a Medicare prescription drug bill, according to Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-PA), who downplayed the possibility the party could rally around a new drug plan proposed by a splinter group in the committee.

May 13, 2003 | Daily News

CMS has delayed until July 2 a pending coverage decision on the use of the colorectal cancer drug oxaliplatin but restricted the coverage decision to off-label use of the drug.

That means that the uses for the drug that have been tested and approved by FDA--for patients whose colorectal cancer has recurred or worsened and receive other specific drug treatments--will be covered by Medicare. This is a concession to pressure from cancer care providers and their congressional supporters.

May 13, 2003 | Daily News

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) plans to provide a cost estimate on an alternative prescription drug bill drafted by five key House Energy and Commerce Republicans after it completes a "score" on the closely held main House GOP Medicare reform legislation, sources say. The GOP leadership remains hopeful that drug coverage legislation patterned largely after last year's House-passed bill will move through the chamber by early summer.

May 12, 2003 | Daily News

Senate and House Republicans have begun to position Senate Democrats as the villains if a prescription drug and Medicare reform plan fails to win enough Democratic support to pass that chamber, charging that presidential politics will hinder efforts at a compromise.

"They're not serious about doing anything about Medicare reform," Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) recently told reporters. Democrats "don't want to do anything that will give this president some credit. That's deplorable."

May 09, 2003 | Daily News

The White House point man on Medicare reform May 8 launched a new defense of the administration's proposed fee-for-service drug coverage, arguing it needs to be assessed in combination with seniors' supplemental coverage. The administration faces Senate pressure to bring its fee-for-service drug benefit up to par with the benefits proposed under privately run Medicare plans.

May 09, 2003 | Daily News

House Democrats launched their first assault on the Republican prescription drug proposal after Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) outlined a Medicare drug benefit largely replicating the plan passed by the House last year.

May 08, 2003 | Daily News

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) is backing off a Memorial Day deadline for passing Medicare reform legislation as GOP leaders continue to debate a strategy for passing drug benefit legislation. Sources say the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committee leaders hope to mark up bills next week modeled closely on drug benefit legislation passed by the House last year, but have yet to reveal their specific legislative plans to committee members.

May 08, 2003 | Daily News

The Bush administration has failed to get the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to sign off on the savings it projected from moving Medicare beneficiaries into privately run preferred provider organizations (PPOs), complicating efforts by lawmakers to push forward on a central component of the White House Medicare reform plan.

May 06, 2003 | Daily News

As part of its lobby against drug reimportation, the U.S. drug industry is arguing that Canada's wholesaler requirements are not as rigorous as those in the United States so Americans should not assume that drugs imported from Canada are safe. The U.S. industry also points out that Canada's system governing importation of drugs intended for export is also weaker than the U.S. system.

April 30, 2003 | Daily News

CMS will seek to cut physician reimbursement for outpatient drugs effective Jan. 1, 2004, but still hopes Congress will enact reforms to the average wholesale price (AWP) system that would make administrative changes unnecessary, CMS Administrator Scully told reporters yesterday (April 29). The proposed cuts in the AWP reimbursement rates will be accompanied by an increase in the practice expense reimbursements to physicians that administer these drugs, Scully said, but those increases may not be a "one-for-one match" with the AWP cuts.

April 30, 2003 | Daily News

Senate Republicans continue to debate how to draw Medicare beneficiaries into privately run plans in the face of opposition within the caucus to President Bush's proposal, backed by Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), to use the lure of comprehensive prescription drug coverage that would be unavailable in traditional fee-for-service Medicare.

"It's not figured out yet," Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) told reporters April 30. "I've been one of the principal ones arguing that you can't make one benefit better than the other."

April 29, 2003 | Daily News

Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (SD) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) are calling on President Bush to renounce CMS Administrator Tom Scully's reported statement during a recent speech that the Medicare program is "an unbelievable disaster" and "dumb."

April 29, 2003 | Daily News

The Medicare reform plan likely to be taken up in the Senate Finance Committee will be an "assimilation" of previous proposals, including President Bush's reform framework, the tripartisan plan, the Breaux-Frist approach and previous House plans, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) said yesterday (April 28).

April 29, 2003 | Daily News

CMS Administrator Tom Scully said today (April 29) the Bush administration remains opposed to adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare without broader reform of the system, even as a senior House Ways and Means committee GOP aide refused to commit to adopting the administration's reform proposals in its upcoming legislation.

April 28, 2003 | Daily News

After months of state and federal negotiations, CMS has sent the White House a proposal for resurrecting a Maine prescription drug assistance program struck down by a federal appeals court late last year, state and congressional sources say. If successful, the move could spell a swift end to the three-month campaign by Maine officials to revive their suspended drug plan.

April 28, 2003 | Daily News

The bipartisan House Cancer Caucus earlier this month urged CMS not to exclude any FDA-approved cancer drugs from upcoming coverage decisions, reacting to indications that CMS could exclude certain drugs based on cost and other factors.

In an April 11 letter to CMS Administrator Thomas Scully, House Cancer Caucus Co-chairs Deborah Pryce (R-OH), Lois Capps (D-CA), Sue Myrick (R-NC) and Steve Israel (D-NY) say CMS should not change its policy of covering all FDA-approved injection treatments for cancer.

April 28, 2003 | Daily News

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick met representatives of the U.S. pharmaceutical industry last week as the U.S. government continued its push to find a way to resolve an impasse in the World Trade Organization over how to provide developing countries with access to cheap, generic copies of patented drugs. The United States has been the sole holdout to an agreement proposed in the WTO last December.

April 25, 2003 | Daily News

As Congress gears up for its looming Medicare drug debate, a coalition of national and state pharmacy groups is lobbying lawmakers to cover pharmacy-based services in addition to drugs in upcoming drug benefit legislation. Last year pharmacy groups raised objections to the House GOP, Senate tripartisan and other leading drug benefit plans.

April 25, 2003 | Daily News

An ambitious House plan to pass Medicare reform legislation by Memorial Day could be jeopardized by the authorizing committees' competing priorities, especially the Ways and Means Committee's aim to put in place tax cuts requested by the Bush administration, and division among GOP members on what a drug benefit should look like.

April 24, 2003 | Daily News

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has been conducting weekly meetings with Finance Committee members in an effort to draft a prescription drug bill, with a focus on getting agreement among last year's supporters of the tripartisan plan, according to sources. The central question centers on whether the drug benefit provided for seniors in Medicare fee-for service will be as robust as that provided by private plans.

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