On a party line vote Monday, the U.S. House passed H.R. 1425, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act. In addition to provisions intended to strengthen the insurance marketplace created under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, H.R. 1425 would create the Fair Price Negotiation Program, in which Health and Human Services (HHS) would be tasked with negotiating the price of certain high cost, single-source drugs based on the average international price of the drug in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the U.K. HHS would be required to negotiate prices for at least 25 drugs the first year of the program and 50 drugs in the following year. The bill has little chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate, and the Trump administration has announced its opposition to it. H.R. 1425 “attempts to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to resuscitate tired, partisan proposals that would send hundreds of billions of dollars to insurance companies in order to paper over serious flaws in Obamacare,” the administration said. To pay for the bailout, the bill imposes “price controls that undermine the American innovation the entire globe is depending on to deliver the vaccines and therapeutics needed to respond to the coronavirus,” it added.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued new vertical merger guidelines Tuesday outlining how they evaluate the likely competitive impact of vertical mergers and whether mergers comply with U.S. antitrust law. The guidelines detail the techniques and types of evidence the agencies typically use to predict whether a vertical merger may substantially lessen competition. The document is the first major revision to guidance on vertical mergers since DoJ’s 1984 nonhorizontal merger guidelines, which were withdrawn in January.
The EMA and South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety announced an agreement Tuesday that will allow the two regulators to share confidential information on drugs intended to treat, diagnose or prevent COVID-19.