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Fracking Development Could Strengthen U.S. Manufacturing Exports

Fracking Development Could Strengthen U.S. Manufacturing Exports

September 1, 2014 April Nowicki
In less than three months, a panel of economic experts from the Initiative on Global Markets at the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business increased their confidence rating on how fracking technology could stimulate growth of U.S. merchandise exports.The economists help provide context about important public policy issues by expressing whether they agreed or disagreed on statements regarding issues.In May, the panel responded to this statement: “New technology for fracking natural gas, by lowering energy costs in the United States, will make U.S. industrial firms more cost competitive and thus significantly stimulate the growth of US merchandise exports.”

Weighted by confidence, the experts responded with opinions split nearly right down the middle. Thirty-four percent agreed with the statement, and 34 percent did not. Eighteen percent were uncertain, 9 percent strongly agreed and 5 percent strongly disagreed.

Out of 32 experts on the panel who responded, eight noted that while lower prices might or will increase U.S. exports, they did not expect the rate of growth to be substantial. Four experts also wrote that additional fracking development could have environmental impacts that could lead to broader negative economic impacts.

“Energy costs are set largely in the world market,” said Janet Currie, professor of economics at Princeton University. “Moreover, environmental degradation could make areas less competitive in the long run.”

In August, the panel again responded to the same statement. Responses were not received from all the same experts as responded to the May survey.

The previously split opinions had shifted in favor of agreement with the statement: 59 percent of the experts who responded either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement. Nineteen percent disagreed, 8 percent strongly disagreed and 15 percent were uncertain.

Some experts changed their answers: Currie and Alan Auerbach, professor of economics and law at Berkeley University, switched responses from “Disagree” to “Uncertain.” Marianne Bertrand, professor of economics at University of Chicago, switched from “Uncertain” to “Agree,” with a low confidence rating of 3, while Raj Chetty, professor of economics at Harvard University, changed his response from “Agree” to “Uncertain.” Some noted that while costs may fall initially, the long-term effects were not clear.

“I agree that energy cost should fall, which will increase U.S. competitiveness,” said Oliver Hart, professor of economics at Harvard University. “The effects on growth are more subtle, and harder to predict.”

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The top 10 best-selling diabetes drugs of 2013

The top 10 best-selling diabetes drugs of 2013

June 17, 2014 | By
Everybody knows that diabetes is an epidemic in this country that is costing lives and money. New stats from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) peg at 29.1 million the number of people in the U.S. who have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, with roughly 9 million of those undiagnosed. Most have Type 2 diabetes, which is more prevalent among minorities. On the other hand, a study found that non-Hispanic white children are diagnosed more often with Type 1 diabetes than other groups. And that is just in the U.S. The rest of the world also is developing diabetes at what many see as alarming rates.Pharma, seeing opportunity, has responded. There are pills as well as injected drugs. Many are incretin mimetics. There are now 12 classes of drugs, including the GLP-1 class drugs like AstraZeneca’s ($AZN) Byetta and Novo Nordisk’s ($NVO) blockbuster Victoza, and DPP-4 inhibitors like Merck’s ($MRK) Januvia, Eli Lilly ($LLY) and Boehringer Ingelheim‘s Tradjenta/Trajenta and AstraZeneca’s Onglyza.These widely used drugs, some of which are on this list, have stirred safety concerns. The FDA and European regulators announced in February that a new round of safety reviews found little evidence that they cause pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer, as some have suggested. But criticism persists, and this month consumer advocacy group Public Citizen again asked the FDA to pull Victoza from the market, saying the FDA’s review of adverse reports was not as extensive as its own.

What is perhaps becoming a bigger deal for Big Pharma, however, is that with so many treatment options, and more coming, the market has gotten crowded and doctors and patients a bit confused. That has led to some studies to sort out which drugs work the best, and that in turn has led some researchers to suggest that for all of the extra money U.S. patients are paying for new treatments, little benefit is being seen. A Yale study, recently cited by Bloomberg, says that many patients have made the switch to analogs and are now spending much more on them than older drugs. But it found little change in the number of episodes of low blood sugar at night, one of the conditions doctors most want to control.

Dr. Silvio E. Inzucchi, director of the Yale Diabetes Center, speaking to The New York Times, asked rhetorically whether patients are any better off with all of the new drugs, then answered his own question this way: “You can control glucose with generics for $4 a month or some new ones that are $8 or $9 per pill. Some medicines are 100 times more expensive, but they’re certainly not 100 times as effective. In fact, they’re probably equal for most people.”

On this list of the best sellers, you will find a mix of the old and new. According to data from EvaluatePharma, one of the big dogs of big pharma data, these top 10 drugs had more than $28 billion in sales last year. All of them, even number 10, were blockbusters. King Lantus alone turned in $7.6 billion in revenue, more than the next two drugs combined and still selling strong. Revenues grew about 20% each of the last two years. Sanofi ($SNY) has been able to be aggressive with its pricing, particularly with the FDA decision to delay approval of potential rival Tresiba pending more safety data.

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NACDS supports Senate letter to HHS urging more time to implement Medicaid reimbursement

NACDS supports Senate letter to HHS urging more time to implement Medicaid reimbursement – May 21, 2014 | By Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — Citing the need for a one-year transition period for states to implement the July average manufacturer price-based federal upper limits, or FULs, nine Senators are urging Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to consider the challenges that states will face when the final Medicaid AMP-based FULs are published. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has expressed its support for sending the letter.

In July, CMS will publish the final Medicaid AMP-based FULs.  The agency has indicated that it expects the new FULs to be effective immediately.

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NCPA Launches Ads, Web Page Advocating for Pharmacy Choice in Medicare Drug Plans

NCPA Launches Ads, Web Page Advocating for Pharmacy Choice in Medicare Drug Plans

By Kevin Schweers

Nearly 400 independent community pharmacists have come to Washington, D.C. to advocate for their patients and their communities as part of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Conference on National Legislation and Government Affairs. While they will visit several hundred congressional offices, they may not reach 100 percent of Capitol Hill. So To complement their advocacy efforts, NCPA is running advertisements to echo the work of NCPA members.


Most of the ads focus on NCPA’s top priority—ensuring that every community pharmacy has the opportunity to participate as ‘preferred’ pharmacies in Medicare drug plans.

Pharmacy choice” was the first online ad. Alongside the image, NCPA noted:

Patients prefer independent community pharmacies, surveys show, so give seniors choice. Allow independent community pharmacies to offer “preferred” pharmacy pricing in Medicare Part D drug plans. Right now sweetheart Big Box pharmacy deals are stifling competition. Some Medicare Part D drug plan middlemen have made Big Box pharmacies the “preferred” pharmacy, whether patients like it or not. Independent community pharmacies are often excluded and seek the opportunity to match the “preferred” pharmacy pricing and other contract terms and conditions. This pharmacy choice policy, also known as “any willing pharmacy,” has bipartisan support in Congress, is backed by leading consumer groups and is the best way to increase competition and lower costs in the Part D program.

This ad launched in conjunction with and links to an accompanying Web page——which is a reference point for NCPA’s push for its top priority. The page features key points focused at consumers, government and links to grassroots action alerts that concerned individuals can personalize and send.

That ad was followed by “30 miles.” It features a puzzled consumer holding a prescription and wondering, “Would you ‘prefer’ a pharmacy that’s 30 miles away?” It also links to and noted

Independent community pharmacies are the sole pharmacies in many rural areas, but are denied the opportunity to be “preferred” pharmacies in many Medicare Part D drug plans. In about 1,800 rural communities, independent pharmacies are the only pharmacy provider. The next closest pharmacy is many miles away. Independent community pharmacies are excluded from “preferred” pharmacy deals between Big Box pharmacies and Medicare Part D drug plan middlemen. Independent community pharmacies seek only the opportunity to match “preferred” pharmacy pricing and other contract terms and conditions at no added cost to Medicare or seniors. This pharmacy choice policy, also known as “any willing pharmacy,” is supported by the National Rural Health Association and other leading consumer groups.

A third NCPA ad featured a map illustrating the important of independent community pharmacies by state and listed the three top priorities that community pharmacists are advocating:

  • Support pharmacy choice in Medicare Part D. Don’t force rural seniors to travel 20+ miles to a “preferred” pharmacy. Allow any willing pharmacy to offer a drug plan’s “preferred” co-pays, which are currently limited to Big Box pharmacies.
  • Ensure adequate payments for generic drugs; back H.R. 4437. Pharmacists promote generic drugs to save money. But some generic prices are increasing 1,000% overnight while drug plan middlemen wait months to update reimbursement.
  • Expand pharmacists’ role in patient care to provide more health services to those in medically underserved areas. Co-sponsor H.R. 4190.

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