RealClearHealth Morning Scan -- 04/06/2016

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Pfizer to Walk Away From Allergan Deal
Rockoff, et al., Wall Street Journal
Pfizer Inc. has decided to kill its planned $150 billion takeover of Allergan PLC, after the Obama administration took aim at a deal that would have moved the biggest drug company in the U.S. to Ireland to lower its taxes, according to people familiar with the matter. The companies are expected to announce the deal’s termination as early as Wednesday morning, after Pfizer’s board voted Tuesday to halt the combination and the New York-based pharmaceutical company then notified Dublin-based Allergan, the people said.

Pfizer Needs a New Prescription for Growth
Caroline Chen, Bloomberg
Pfizer Inc. is set to be thwarted for the second time in less than two years in its pursuit of a transformative, tax-powered deal to position the biggest U.S. drugmaker for long-term growth. The Obama administration has pretty much made sure there won’t be a third try.

Mental Health Reform Bill Could Be Derailed
Noam N. Levey, L.A. Times
Mental health advocates are pressing Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill not to abandon a push to modernize the nation's ailing mental health system amid rising partisan tensions over President Obama's Supreme Court pick. The effort has picked up crucial bipartisan support in the Senate and galvanized dozens of groups representing patients, physicians and state and local leaders.

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Committee Faces Deadline for Innovation Bill
Caitlin Owens, Morn. Cons.
The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold its third and final votes on a series of small bipartisan bills on Wednesday, but there’s still no deal on the most important issue — additional funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.

Drug Pricing Bill Not Likely at Innovation Hearing
Peter Sullivan, Hill
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) says that her bill aimed at fighting high profile drug price spikes will likely not be considered as part of a health committee session on Wednesday. “I don't think it's going to come up tomorrow, but I'm assured by the chairman that it will be considered at some point,” Collins said Tuesday, referring to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).

White House to Use Ebola Funds to Combat Zika
Andrew Taylor, AP
The Obama administration is to announce Wednesday it will transfer leftover money from the largely successful fight against Ebola to combat the growing threat of the Zika virus, congressional officials say. Roughly 75 percent of the $600 million or so would be devoted to the Centers for Disease Control, which is focused on research and development of anti-Zika vaccines, treating those infected with the virus and combating the mosquitoes that spread it. The rest would go to foreign aid accounts to fight the virus overseas.

What About "Shared Savings" for Patients?
Beth Kutscher, Modern HC
The term “shared savings” usually brings to mind the CMS' accountable care programs and the shared rewards for hospitals that save money over the benchmark costs of care. But a select number of technology companies are bringing the concept of shared rewards directly to consumers, designing programs that give them cash incentives for going to a lower-cost provider or getting routine preventive screenings.

Ohio Cutting Opioid Use by Injured Workers
Rita Price, Columbus Disp.
More than 9,300 workers — nearly 20 percent of claimants receiving medication paid for by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation — had prescriptions sufficient to render them physically dependent on opioids. At least 60 workers were at doses equivalent to 200 Vicodin tablets a day.

Many of Oldest Old at Peace With Dying
Mary Elizabeth Dallas, HealthDay
People well into their 90s are often willing to talk about death, but they're rarely asked about it, a new British study finds. "Despite the dramatic rise in the number of people living into very old age, there is far too little discussion about what the 'oldest old' feel about the end of their lives," said study leader Jane Fleming. "We know very little, too, about the difficult decisions concerning their end-of-life care."

The Graying of HIV
Lenny Bernstein, Washington Post
Thousands of people 50 and older are diagnosed with HIV each year in the United States, a development that has significant consequences for the health care and social support they need and the doctors, counselors and others who provide it. Older people tend to be sicker when the infection is finally discovered. They usually have other health conditions that accompany aging and often are too embarrassed to reveal their illness to family and friends.

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