Healthcare Roundup—Trump signs Right to Try into law, says voluntary drug price cuts are coming

President Donald Trump signs the Right-to-Try bill into law in a ceremony at the White House on Wednesday. (CSPAN)

Trump signs Right to Try into law

In a ceremony at the White House on Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed Right to Try legislation into law.

The law will allow patients with life-threatening conditions to ask drugmakers for medicines that have not yet been FDA-approved but that have at least completed phase 1 testing. The patient must have run out of approved treatment options and must be unable to participate in a clinical trial of the experimental drug in question.

During the ceremony, Trump said he didn't understand why it had been so hard to pass the measure that would give patients who are out of options the opportunity to try drugs that had not yet been approved. "A lot of that trying is going to be successful. I really believe that," Trump said. 

Alluding to the administration's efforts to address soaring prescription drug prices, Trump also promised that drug companies would announce some voluntary price reductions within the next few weeks. He also promised an "exciting announcement" about some "great inexpensive plans" that would be released, referring to association health plans. (CSPAN video)

What's the ROI for hospitals that employ their docs?

A growing number of physicians are directly employed by hospitals. But a new report from the Medical Group Management Association found that's not necessarily a good thing for hospitals' bottom lines.

According to the report, multispecialty physicians groups lost nearly $196,000 per employed physician in 2016. That as about one-quarter of U.S. physicians practiced in groups wholly or partly owned by hospitals and another 7% were directly employed by hospitals in 2016, according to American Medical Association data. 

The Harvard Business Review reported that hospitals lose money on their employed physicians because both physician compensation and practice expenses and corporate overhead significantly exceed the collections of practices. (Harvard Business Review article)

Cancer group changes colorectal cancer screening guidelines

The American Cancer Society updated its colorectal cancer screening guidelines on Wednesday, saying doctors should begin screening patients when they reach age 45 rather than 50 as was previously recommended.

The new guidelines are based on data which shows that rates of colorectal cancer are increasing among young and middle-aged populations, they said. The recommendations were based on modeling which demonstrated a favorable benefit-to-burden balance of screening beginning at age 45, officials said. (Release