Healthcare Roundup—Trump promises 'massive' drug price cuts are coming 'soon' 

Donald Trump speaking
President Donald Trump has promised "massive" drug price drops from major companies. (C-SPAN)

"Right-to-try" law author pushes FDA to enforce it as written 

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., penned a letter to the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday, taking issue with some of Commissioner Scott Gottlieb's comments on the recently passed "right-to-try" legislation. 

Johnson, who authored the bill, disputed Gottlieb's comments that the FDA may need to issue regulations or guidance to ensure the law was enforced effectively. 

"This law intends to diminish the FDA's power over people's lives, not increase it," Johnson wrote. "It is not meant to grant FDA more power or enable the FDA to write new guidance, rules or regulations that would limit the ability of an individual facing a life-threatening disease from accessing treatments." 

FREE WEBINAR | DECEMBER 13, 2018

Employer-Based Insurance: Top Priorities for 2019

Join Blue Health Intelligence (BHI) and Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH) to hear how key descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics capabilities can drive new cost and quality insights for health plans, employers and benefit consultants.

President Donald Trump signed the bill into law this week. It was opposed by many Democrats and public health experts. (Letter

Trump: Drug companies will announce price cuts "soon" 

Trump said that major drug companies would announce "massive" price drops in two weeks but didn't specify which companies would be lowering their prices. 

"I think we're going to have some of the big drug companies in two weeks said they're going to announce, because of what we did, they're going to announce voluntary massive drops in prices," Trump said. 

The administration unveiled its plan for tackling rising drug prices—called "American Patients First"—in early May. (Reuters

Congress "too scared" of AMA to take on the opioid crisis, senator says 

The American Medical Association's lobbying power may be one of the major barriers to congressional action aimed at curbing opioid prescriptions, according to one senator. 

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said at a meeting of advocates in late May that some of his fellow legislators were "too scared to take on the AMA" by pushing for strict prescribing limits and mandatory physician education in opioid epidemic legislation. Those policies are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but opposed by the AMA. 

The AMA said the CDC's call for strict, three-day limits does not gel with other guidelines on opioids issued by the agency. (The Daily Beast

Cash-strapped Nashville General Hospital extends CEO's contract for 3 years 

Nashville General Hospital will extend its CEO Joseph Webb's contract for three years amid ongoing financial troubles and concerns about poor bookkeeping. 

Webb has helmed the public hospital since 2015, and it was revealed in an audit last year that it had been unable to keep track of patient payments and its major expenses. Webb was brought in to stabilize the facility. 

Webb's existing contract was set to expire on June 30. Hospital officials will meet June 11 to finalize payment and other details of the contract extension. (The Tennessean)

Weill Cornell adds new academic department of emergency medicine

Weill Cornell Medicine has launched a department of emergency medicine as a new academic discipline under its medical school. 

Rahul Sharma, M.D., emergency physician-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, will head the department. The new department will also facilitate research projects, according to an announcement.

“NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine are leading the way in emergency medicine, research and new innovations in patient care,” said Steven J. Corwin, M.D., CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian. “The new Department of Emergency Medicine, under the leadership of Dr. Sharma, will be a wonderful asset to our institutions that will enhance the care we provide to our patients.”