Welcome to the first edition of Amplicare’s weekly news roundup. Each week, we’ll share five news stories to keep you up-to-date on what’s happening in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Look for us every Friday afternoon.
Here’s what you need to know this week:
1. In a tweet earlier this week, Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced plans to release injury and malfunction reports tied to nearly 100 medical devices. There are reportedly hundreds of thousands of previously unpublished reports, which Gottlieb says should be available to the public. Read more from Kaiser Health News.
2. Unhappy with your Medicare Advantage plan? You only have a few more days to make changes. March 31 marks the end of a new special Open Enrollment Period for people enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. Enrollees have the option to change plans or switch to original Medicare. Read more from CNBC.
3. Flu season is still going strong, reports The Wall Street Journal. Flu-like activity is still widespread in 42 states in the U.S. and the percentage of doctor visits for related symptoms is at the highest it has been for this time of year since 1998. Read more from The Wall Street Journal.
4. A new study from Pew Charitable Trusts found that the net spending for retail prescription drug coverage reached $341 billion in 2016, up from $250.7 billion in 2012. According to the study, net pharmacy revenue grew from $30.8 billion to $76.9 billion during that time. Read more from HealthPayerIntelligence.
5. Spending on specialty drugs to treat chronic, complex, and rare conditions in Medicare Part D rose significantly between 2010 and 2015, according to a Congressional Budget Office report. During that time period, net spending increased from $8.7 billion to $32.8 billion in Medicare Part D and from $4.8 to $9.9 billion in Medicaid. Although brand-name specialty drugs accounted for only 1 percent of all prescriptions dispensed by both plans in 2015, they made up roughly 30 percent of spend on prescription drugs. Read more from Healthcare Dive.