RealClearHealth Morning Scan -- 04/25/2016

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More Hefty Price Hikes on More Drugs
Ed Silverman, Pharmalot
If you thought drug makers might hunker down in the face of public outrage over pricing, think again. Given the clamor over the cost of prescription drugs, most manufacturers were expected to avoid drawing attention to themselves by boosting price tags. But several companies have been hiking prices for their medicines at a rate that one Wall Street analyst found surprising.

Your Drugs Are About to Get More Expensive
Devon Herrick, THCB
Medicare drug plans are governed by federal law. But for the rest of us with a drug plan, the state in which we reside generally regulates drug plans and pharmacy benefits. When pharmacists descend on state capitols they often find a sympathetic ear in state legislators.

Germany Is New Drug Pricing Battlefield
Johannes Koch, Bloomberg
Germany, Europe’s largest market for drugs, is emerging as a new front in the battle on drug pricing for pharmaceutical companies already engaged in skirmishes with U.S. health insurers and legislators.

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies are committed to addressing the nation’s growing opioid crisis community by community, nationwide. Learn more about the BCBS commitment.

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Meet the Top Doctor at Google's Medical Arm
Leena Rao, Fortune
When the opportunity first came up, Dr. Jessica Mega, a star cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, couldn’t wrap her head around the idea of leaving these institutions to join Google. Mega had always imagined pursuing her career in a hospital, not working shoulder-to-shoulder with twenty-something engineers.

GOP Group Submits ACA Replacement Plan
Byline, Source
The conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) on Friday submitted its recommendations for a Republican replacement for ObamaCare as it seeks to shape a plan being formed by a group of House chairmen. The recommendations come from the RSC’s already-existing legislation, the American Health Care Reform Act, which would completely repeal ObamaCare and replace it with a new system.

Clinton, Sanders Disagree on Soda Taxes
Margot Sanger-Katz, N.Y. Times
While not the biggest issue the two candidates have tussled over, it is one that may reverberate across the country in coming years as more cities and states use the tax to raise revenue or improve citizens’ health.

Insurers Struggle With Cost of Genetic Tests
Joseph Burns, Managed Care
While some health plans are using prior approval, others seem to have a wide variety of approaches, says Linda D. Liston, director of clinical lab contracting for McKesson Business Performance Services. Whatever the method, cost control is the reason, given that molecular and genetic tests can cost anywhere from $250 to more than $6,000.

Anti-Aging Trial Has Seniors Scrambling to Sign Up
Jennifer Levitz, WSJ
Behind the mania is a widely used, inexpensive generic pill for Type 2 diabetes called metformin. Scientists are planning a clinical trial to see if the drug can delay or prevent some of the most devastating diseases of advanced age, from heart ailments to cognitive decline to cancer. To test the pill, gerontologists at 14 aging centers around the U.S. will follow 3,000 seniors for six years. Half the seniors involved would get the drug, while the others would receive a placebo.

Pediatrician Group Opposes N.C. Bathroom Bill
Robert Preidt, HealthDay
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) this week joined other professional groups and business leaders in urging repeal of the law, which requires transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match the gender on their birth certificate.

Teen Opioid Abuse and Adult Addiction
Andy Steiner, MinnPost
It has to start somewhere. It’s true that white, middle-aged male Minnesotans are most likely to die of an opioid overdose, but if we want to truly stem the tide of addiction and death, Dr. Joseph Lee, medical director for youth continuum at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, believes that we need to set our sights on the young.

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies around the country are undertaking initiatives to help patients, families, health professionals and communities address the opioid epidemic. These programs are reducing the misuse of opioids while ensuring those who need access to pain medication can get it, when they need it. Learn more about the BCBS commitment to fight substance use disorder and help prevent opioid addiction.

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