Oversight is over it

Taking direction from the White House’s recent and ongoing actions towards drug pricing, Congress has begun its latest investigation into prescription drug pricing. It starts with letters sent to 12 companies with products Congress views as either too costly or too price-hiked. As you might expect, that list is filled with blockbusters. Like America used to be. While the list is filled with pharma household names, three names you won’t see on the list—Amgen, Merck, and Gilead—were recently lauded by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar for curbing drug prices. So maybe some progress is being made? The House Oversight Committee will hold hearings on Jan. 29 for experts and patients to weigh in, but no word on whether execs will be expected to make an appearance.

New year, new price transparency

January 1 marks the first day US hospitals must comply with the Inpatient Prospective Payment System rule to post the price for each individually offered service on their websites. Advocates for price transparency are pretty happy, but providers aren’t—92% of them are concerned about the new policy. After all, list prices aren’t out-of-pocket prices. Providers are also concerned about other initiatives in 2019, including the International Pricing Index proposed by the White House to bring American drug costs in line with other developed nations. Another policy to watch is the proposal to include prescription drug costs in DTC TV ads. Drugmakers have a lot to spend on ads considering they spent $3.7B on them in 2018, so maybe that change won’t be too hard to make monetarily-speaking. Speaking of drug pricing, here’s 2018’s most expensive retail pharmacy drugs.