Purdue bankruptcy clashes with West Virginia over settlement money

The state attorney general has said he will oppose a proposed bankruptcy of Purdue Pharma because it could result in lower opioid crisis settlement payments. Meanwhile, the governor of Maine will host another summit on the outbreak.

AP: West Virginia opposes Purdue Pharma bankruptcy plan

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he would oppose the bankruptcy plan of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, arguing that his state, one of the hardest hit by the opioid epidemic , would run out of settlement money. “I remain vigorously opposed to a proposed allocation formula that allocates settlement funds largely based on the population of a state or local government – not the intensity of the problem,” said Morrisey Tuesday. (7/14)

AP: Governor of Maine to host 3rd annual opioid crisis summit

The governor of Maine plans to host a virtual summit on the opioid crisis this week. Democratic Governor Janet Mills said she had scheduled the governor’s third annual opioid response summit Thursday. She said the event is designed to bring together healthcare providers, policy experts, law enforcement officials and members of the public to work together on the opioid crisis. (7/14)

CBS News: “Game changer”? Tarantula venom may produce powerful pain medication to help curb the opioid epidemic

Researchers at the University of California-Davis are trying to use tarantula venom to develop a pain reliever to help curb the opioid epidemic, CBS Sacramento reports. “Nature offers such a great diversity of proteins which, for us, are fundamentally building blocks of future drugs,” said Dr Vladimir Yarov-Yarovoy of UC Davis Health. He is one of the principal researchers of a team of 20 people. (7/14)

NPR: Tragic death shows how emergencies fail for drug addiction patients

Jameson Rybak has tried to quit using opioids almost a dozen times in five years. Each time, he waited for the end of the vomiting, sweating, and weaning chills in his room. It was hard to watch, says her mother, Suzanne Rybak, although she admired his persistence. On March 11, 2020, however, Suzanne was worried. Jameson, 30 at the time, was losing consciousness and losing consciousness and said he couldn’t move his hands. (Pattani, 7/14)

In updates on new Alzheimer’s disease drug –

The Boston Globe: “It’s Unprecedented”: Several Private Insurers Will Not Cover Biogen’s Alzheimer’s Drug

At least half a dozen private health insurers in some of the nation’s largest states are reluctant to cover Biogen’s controversial Alzheimer’s drug, claiming it is an experimental and unproven treatment despite being approved by the federal government a month ago. Six subsidiaries of Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Florida, New York, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania say in recently adopted policies that they will not cover Cambridge’s biotech drug, Aduhelm, because they consider it “investigative” or “experimental” or because “a clinical benefit has not been established. Aduhelm, priced at $ 56,000 per year, is intended to slow cognitive decline in patients with early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, regardless of age. (Saltzman, 7/13)

Stat: Biogen’s New Alzheimer’s Drug Could Cost Medicaid Up To $ 2.2 Billion Per Year

An expensive new Alzheimer’s drug already mired in controversy could cost Medicaid from $ 720 million to nearly $ 2.2 billion each year depending on the number of patients treated, according to a new analysis. The drug, called Aduhelm and priced at $ 56,000, is raising concerns about its potential impact on the entire healthcare system. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, for example, are about to begin a process to determine whether Medicare will establish a national coverage policy for the drug, which is sold by Biogen (BIIB) and obtained regulatory approval on last month. (Silverman, 7/13)

Stat: ‘Aduhelm Left Room’: Lilly CEO considers competition with rival Alzheimer’s drug

Although a rival’s Alzheimer’s drug hit the market first, CEO Eli Lilly spoke confidently on Tuesday about the potential of his amyloid clearing product to take on Aduhelm, recently launched by Biogen. Speaking at STAT’s Breakthrough Science Summit, CEO David Ricks said Lilly last month asked the Food and Drug Administration to speed up approval of his drug donanemab for “business reasons, competition reasons , but more importantly, patient reasons. (Cooney, 7/13)

In other pharmaceutical and biotech news –

Modern Healthcare: First, Honeywell to Increase Supply of US-Made Examination Gloves

Premier and Honeywell will team up to increase the supply of U.S.-made examination gloves, the organizations said on Tuesday. The group’s purchasing and advisory body and the manufacturing conglomerate will initially produce 750 million nitrile gloves over one year. While the supply of most personal protective equipment has replenished since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, medical-grade examination gloves are still lacking amid the global shortage of raw materials, port closures and delays and above average demand. (Kacik, 7/13)

Stat: Judge decides insulin makers, PBMs face racketeering allegations

A federal judge has dropped allegations that three drugmakers engaged in antitrust practices by conspiring to overcharge insulin, but companies will continue to face racketeering allegations in a lawsuit filed by pharmaceutical wholesalers. In the lawsuit, insulin makers – Eli Lilly (LLY), Sanofi (SNY) and Novo Nordisk (NVO) – were accused of inflating prices by paying bribes in the form of discounts and various administrative fees to drug benefit managers in exchange for favorable placement on forms. These are lists of medications for which coverage is provided by health insurers who hire PBMs to negotiate on their behalf. (Silverman, 7/13)

Stat: Patient data company Truveta raises $ 95 million, Lands Hospital Partners

A company formed to aggregate and sell anonymized data on millions of U.S. patients has attracted a trio of new hospital partners, adding providers in Dallas and Washington, DC, to a nationwide network that now includes 17 healthcare systems. Truveta, led by former Microsoft executive Terry Myerson, has signed with DC-based MedStar Health and Dallas-based Health Systems Baylor Scott & White and Texas Health Resources. Hospitals that are now involved in the company’s efforts account for about 15% of care in 40 U.S. states. (Ross, 7/13)

KHN: Dying rare disease patients struggle for experimental therapies

At 15, Autumn Fuernisen is dying. She was diagnosed at the age of 11 with a rare degenerative brain disorder that has no known cure or way to slow it down: Juvenile-onset Huntington’s disease. “There are a lot of things that she was able to do really well before,” said her mother, Londen Tabor, who lives with her daughter in Gillette, Wyoming. Autumn’s speech has become blurred and his cognitive abilities are slower. She needs help with many tasks, such as writing, showering and dressing, and although she can walk, her balance is disturbed. Fall was turned down for clinical trials because she is too young. (Bennett, 7/14)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of coverage of health policies by major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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