“A scam for seniors” and an aggressive emissions plan

September 17, 2020
Today, we take a closer look at how President Trump's recent drug pricing executive order will harm seniors. We will also look at a biopharma that's made an aggressive pledge on GHG emissions, in just under 1,000 words, just under 5 minutes.
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Today, we take a closer look at how President Trump's recent drug pricing executive order will harm seniors. We will also look at a biopharma that's made an aggressive pledge on GHG emissions, in just under 1,000 words, just under 5 minutes.

“A scam for seniors”

That’s what one expert on healthcare for seniors calls President Trump’s drug pricing order in a new op-ed for STAT News.

ICYMI: On Sunday (it’s been a long week), President Trump released an executive order, Lowering Drug Prices by Putting America First, which says “the Medicare program should not pay more for costly Part B or Part D prescription drugs or biological products than the most-favored-nation price.”  

But here’s the thing: The order is “founded on incorrect assumptions about how other countries would respond, where seniors’ high out-of-pocket costs really come from, and what it would mean for the U.S. to adopt cost-effectiveness standards used by foreign governments,” says Sue Peschin, President and CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research, in STAT News

It's “both a jacked-up version of the so-called international pricing index—first proposed by the Trump administration in 2018,” she continues, “and similar to the international reference pricing proposal included in the drug pricing package that House Democrats passed in December 2019.” 

These models won’t lower prices for seniors. “[A]n Avalere study found that fewer than 1% of older adults in Medicare Part B would see a reduction in out-of-pocket costs as a result of the international pricing index model.” 

And seniors may actually be harmed. These models “effectively endorse the use of discriminatory cost-effectiveness standards often used by other governments,” she continues. Measured by the quality-adjusted life year (QALY), “patients who are sicker, older, or disabled are assigned less value.” 

“Ultimately, the fact that drugs are inaccessible and unaffordable to many seniors is due to private Part D insurers implementing aggressive cost-sharing,” Peschin concludes. This is why BIO continues to advocate for real reform to Medicare Part D, such as an out-of-pocket cap, instead of policies that will harm patients and innovation. 

Read the whole op-ed.

Learn more about why seniors pay so much out of pocket for their medicines in Medicare Part D. 

 

More Health Care News:

Biopharma Dive: Pfizer says coronavirus vaccine study still on track for October readout
“Just over 29,000 people had enrolled in the phase 3 study by last Friday and, as of Monday morning, 12,000 of them had received the second shot in the two-dose regimen used for Pfizer's vaccine.” 

CNBC: Eli Lilly reports a reduced rate of hospitalization for coronavirus patients using its antibody treatment
“The U.S. drugmaker said the experimental treatment helped patients rid their systems of the coronavirus sooner.” 

Reuters: U.S. FDA's Hahn plans 'significant' work with AstraZeneca in COVID-19 trial inquiry
“‘We’re here to protect the American public and we’re going to do very significant work with the company to figure out if there’s a significant safety issue or not,’ FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said.”

 
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In a time of incredible disruption and uncertainty, the biotech industry has continued to adapt, innovate, and improve patient outcomes. 

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This biopharma is eliminating fossil fuels to heal humans and the planet

As we’re seeing the health impacts of climate change playing out in real time, in the form of fires in the West, hurricanes in the Southeast, and a zoonotic disease pandemic worldwide, it’s clear we need bold, urgent action. Here’s what one BIO member is doing to heal the air and human health.  

Biogen, which develops innovative therapies for neurological diseases, announced a 20-year, $250-million initiative to do two things:

  1. Eliminate fossil fuels across their operations.
  2. Collaborate with Harvard and MIT to advance research into the environmental and health impacts of climate change and improve health outcomes, especially for underserved communities. 

Called Healthy Climate, Healthy Lives, the initiative is “a long-term commitment to go beyond carbon neutral and net zero,” and “reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions 55% by 2032 and 100% by 2040 from a 2019 base year.” In addition, 80% of suppliers (by spend) will have targets to meet by 2025. 

What they’re saying: “Biogen was the first company in the life sciences industry to become carbon neutral,” said Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos. “We believe that it is time to take even greater action by implementing a well-defined program that examines how we live, how we do business and how we consume energy.”

Why it matters: “Fossil fuel-related air pollution not only contributes to the climate crisis, it claims 9 million lives annually, making it one of the world’s top killers,” explains Biogen. “Evidence shows that fossil fuel emissions play a direct role in the worsening of various health conditions, and emerging data suggests possible links to COVID-19 as well as brain health. For Biogen, which discovers, develops, and delivers innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, there is an imperative to pioneer solutions.” 

Read Biogen’s Climate Change Position Statement.

Want to learn more about what BIO members are doing to heal, feed, and fuel the planet? Register for BIO IMPACT Digital, taking place entirely online from September 21-22, 2020.

 

More Agriculture and Environment News: 

POLITICO Influence: Business Roundtable backs a price on carbon
“Business Roundtable urged policymakers to ‘ensure that U.S. companies are not at a disadvantage from carbon pricing policies that may be implemented abroad’ as part of any effort to reduce emissions. It also urged Washington to commit to ‘at least a doubling of federal funding’ for research and development of technologies to reduce greenhouse gases.”

 
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Meet Felipe & Paula: Partners in Veterinary Science

Meet Acceligen's Felipe and Paula

Felipe Ongaratto and Paula Rodriguez are partners in life, and in science.

The married couple met in the lab (cute!)—and now, the veterinarians work at BIO member Acceligen, researching how animals can survive and thrive in tropical environments.

Acceligen recently received a $3.68 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop bovine genetics to “optimize” cows for sub-Saharan Africa, to improve the health of the cows and help farmers thrive.

Visit www.bio.org/iambio to learn more and share your story!

 

 

 
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President Trump’s Thursday: Credentialing newly appointed ambassadors to the United States, then speaking at the White House Conference on American History at the National Archives Museum. After, he’ll head to Mosinee, WI, for a campaign event. 

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: During yesterday’s Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on vaccines, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield urged Americans to wear masks. Axios has more on what he said, and President Trump’s response.

 
 
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