Healthcare Economics & Policy

A newly FDA-approved drug to treat congestive heart failure is cost-effective, while a device to treat the same disease is priced 60 percent higher than it should be, according to an Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) analysis. The researchers noted the two interventions could become the first breakthroughs in heart failure management in more than a decade.

An Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) analysis found that the price that best represents the benefits of newly FDA-approved proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors should be approximately two-thirds lower than the wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) of the medications.

Even as pharmaceutical companies develop safer and more effective drugs, the costs of those medications are becoming a concern for healthcare executives, hospitals, payers and patients.

For the first quarter of fiscal year 2016, Medtronic’s revenue increased 12 percent compared with the same time period last year thanks to an extra week in the quarter and its acquisition of Covidien, according to earnings results announced by the company.

More than 70 percent of Americans believe drug prices are unreasonable and nearly 25 percent have trouble paying for their prescription medications, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released on Aug. 20.

A recent analysis painted an optimistic view on Medicare, a program that is divisive among politicians, healthcare professionals and the general public.

Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez told the Wall Street Journal that the company is considering offering add-on healthcare services to insurers concerned with the high costs of its newest drug. 

For 2016, health insurance companies are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent, the New York Times reports. State insurance regulators are currently reviewing the requests.

In 2014, doctors and research hospitals collected $6.5 billion from pharmaceutical and medical device companies, Reuters reports. The figures were revealed in a report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that listed information on payments that 1,444 companies made to 607,000 physicians and more than 1,100 teaching hospitals.

The Supreme Court ruled on June 25 that people purchasing health insurance on the federal exchange can receive subsidies to help them afford the coverage. Still, Congressional and state opponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act plan on dismantling the law piece by piece, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Supreme Court ruled on June 25 that subsidies to purchase health insurance on the exchanges would remain available nationwide. However, Politico notes that Republican leaders and many Americans still oppose the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and some states are having trouble running their exchanges.

UnitedHealth Group approached Aetna about a merger in recent days, the Wall Street Journal reports. UnitedHealth, the largest health insurance company in the U.S., sent a letter to Aetna expressing its interest. However, the newspaper reports "it is far from certain there will be any deal between the companies."