Industry Trends

A record 5.6 million patients in the United Kingdom are currently on waiting lists for hospital care. That's equivalent to nearly one in 10 Britons. Of that group, about 300,000 have been waiting at least one year for treatment. Those who can afford to are increasingly paying out of pocket for private care. More than 20% of British residents are doing so, according to recent polling. Britain's National Health Service has long been a source of pride for the country. The organizers of the 2012 London Olympics made the NHS...

The delta variant has wreaked havoc. This week, the U.S. reported a seven-day average of more than 146,000 daily cases . In total, COVID-19 has killed more than 660,000 Americans since the start of the pandemic. Thankfully, the rate of increase appears to be falling in many areas, compared to the surges in July and August. But significant damage has already been done. Much of this carnage could have been avoided if the Food and Drug Administration had accelerated approvals of...

The Congressional Budget Office just released an analysis of House Democrats' effort to impose price controls on prescription drugs, H.R. 3 -- the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. The CBO's chief finding is grim. By drastically limiting pharmaceutical revenue, H.R. 3 would starve scientists of the funding they need to research and develop new medicines. The result is that dozens of treatments and cures -- therapies that could save and enhance people's lives -- would never be invented. In other words, Democrats are...

President Joe Biden has finally figured out how to get Americans onto the Obamacare exchanges — by paying them. The administration recently congratulated itself after 2.5 million Americans signed up for plans through the government-run marketplaces during a newly created Special Enrollment Period that closed August 15. But these figures don't reflect newfound enthusiasm for Obamacare. The numbers are the result of more generous federal subsidies enacted in April as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. Through next year, those who make more than 400% of the poverty level, or...

Medical devices are something of an orphan sister to the glamour of drugs, but they include some of the genuine miracles of modern medicine, particularly for seniors: Pacemakers, artificial joints, insulin pumps, and CT, MRI, and radiotherapy machines are just a few examples. The United States is currently the global leader in medical device innovation, and it is one of the few major industries that both boasts a net trade surplus and is a job creator. The sector employs 400,000...

The Senate is poised, on Tuesday, to pass a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package. According to the latest estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, the new spending will increase the deficit by over $250 billion. The 2,700-page bill appropriates an avalanche of funding for everything from electric vehicle charging stations to public transit systems. It also includes a "Buy American" provision that requires government agencies to purchase masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment from domestic companies. Such protectionist policies are...

Demonstrators in 50 cities across the country took the streets last month to demand a government takeover of America's health system. The Democrats who control Washington are trying to give those activists what they're asking for, albeit in piecemeal fashion. In recent weeks, they've proposed lowering Medicare's eligibility age and adding dental, vision and hearing benefits to the entitlement. Democrats in Congress have also offered a plan to provide federally funded health coverage to low-income people in the 12 states that have yet to adopt Obamacare's Medicaid expansion. This drive to...

Millions of people have canceled doctor’s appointments and postponed elective surgeries over the past 18 months. But now that the pandemic has largely subsided, many patients feel it’s once again safe to seek care. A Gallup poll conducted in May found that nearly 17% of Americans had gone to a hospital, doctor’s office, or treatment center in the previous 24 hours, up from just 6% the year before. Whether patients actually receive the care they’re seeking, though, depends entirely on where they...

Dr. Henry Miller talks about potential life-saving medical technology with organ transplants on the nationally-syndicated Lars Larson Show. Dr. Miller talks about advances in 3-D printing for liver, gallbladder, and even heart transplants and why the FDA is slow to test and approve these groundbreaking practices. Dr. Miller's segment begins at the 48-minute mark. Lars Larson National Podcast · Lars Larson National Podcast 06-22-21...

Demand for doctors is far outstripping supply. The United States will face a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034, according to projections out this month from the Association of American Medical Colleges. Already, many Americans are struggling to get the care they need. About 35% of patients had trouble finding a doctor in the past several years, according to a 2019 survey. That's up from 25% in 2015. This physician shortage disproportionately affects Americans in rural and historically neglected urban areas. Medical schools are taking...

Dr. Henry Miller, physician, molecular biologist, and senior fellow with PRI, talks to the Lars Larson Show about the new Alzheimer drug approved by the FDA. Dr. Miller gives the history of Alzheimer drug approvals and the controversy around it. Larson and Dr. Miller talk about the approval process used by the FDA, costs, and how additional testing for the drug would work. Dr. Miller's segment begins at the 47-minute mark.  Lars Larson National Podcast · Lars Larson National Podcast 06-08-21...

There's dissension within House Democrats' ranks. Last week, no fewer than 10 House Democrats urged Speaker Nancy Pelosi to abandon H.R. 3, as the legislation is known, in favor of a more bipartisan approach that can "preserve our invaluable innovation ecosystem." Slapping new taxes and price controls on prescription drugs, as H.R. 3 would, has always been a bad idea — one that is guaranteed to undermine research into new drugs and vaccines. But it's borderline reckless to do so right as...

How the New Price Transparency Rules are Affecting Stakeholders May 13, 2021 Deborah Abrams Kaplan Although the hospital price transparency final rule took effect in January, it will take time for it to get its sea legs, whether that means 100% hospital compliance, inspiring patients to use it for their own healthcare decisions or for hospitals to reevaluate their pricing based on their competition. Eventually, though, “I think it will open up the market and, hopefully, reduce the cost of healthcare,” says Sally...

Last year was the first year in which physicians working in private practice accounted for fewer than half of all practicing doctors, according to a new new report from the American Medical Association. Many of these formerly independent doctors went to work for big healthcare systems. That finding may sound obscure. Why should patients care whether a doctor draws his or her paycheck from a hospital or a private practice he or she owns? But the corporatization of medicine could be bad news for...

By Henry Miller, M.S., M.D., and Kathleen Hefferon, Ph.D The controversy over genetically engineered organisms (sometimes called “genetically modified organisms,” or “GMOs”) is genuine, not faux — but only because of uninformed, exaggerated concerns about the most recent techniques’ “newness.” What is faux and disingenuous are the arguments put forth by genetic engineering’s opponents. Humans have been modifying the DNA of our food for thousands of years (even though we didn’t know that DNA was mediating the changes until the 20th century). We call...

By Robert Popovian, Pharm.D., MS, and Wayne Winegarden, Ph.D. Biologics are not natural monopolies, as certain individuals continually assert. This assertion threatens future innovations, greater healthcare affordability, and patient access. It is well understood that biologics have improved our ability to treat diseases such as cancer and autoimmune ailments. Biologics are also expensive; they now represent 43% of invoice spending, and spending has been growing 14.6% annually over the past five years. Until recently, originator biologics lacked any meaningful competition from less costly off-patent generic copies...

As Congress once again takes up legislation to reduce drug prices, one of the most important yet overlooked areas for reform is rebate walls. Rebate walls, also known as rebate traps, block competition in parts of the U.S. prescription drug market, especially immunology, which is home to some of the costliest drugs. They can favor older, more expensive and even less effective drugs over newer, more effective, and often cheaper alternatives. Thanks to rebate walls, patients are routinely forced to “fail first”...

Patent trolls have been a plague on innovators for too long. Patent trolls are entities that obtain patents (sometimes obscure patents) for the sole purpose of threatening or filing lawsuits in court and then using the prospect of costly litigation to extort unwarranted payouts from an innovative company. The risks and costs created by these entities are a clear and present danger to entrepreneurship and innovation. A goal of public policy should be to make it more costly for frivolous patent...

BY ROBERT POPOVIAN & WAYNE WINEGARDEN President Joe Biden should take advantage of a bipartisan opportunity to meaningfully reduce patients’ out-of-pocket spending on biopharmaceuticals. Seizing this opportunity requires the president to recognize that the drug cost problem exists because the current system inappropriately shifts too much of its expenditures to patients. Consider that hospitals’ total expenditure in 2019 was $1.2 trillion, or three times the total of the spend on pharmaceuticals. However, patients’ out-of-pocket spending on drugs in 2019 was $54 billion, or 50 percent higher than...

By Wayne Winegarden and Robert Popovian The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized a regulation on November 20, 2020 that removed the safe harbor protections for rebates on prescription drugs paid to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and Part D plans. This analysis evaluates the expected impact from this regulation on Medicare premiums and patient out-of-pocket (OOP) costs. Based on the data from the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), the loss of manufacturer drug rebates would cause the average insurance...