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The search on Capitol Hill for new routes for Republicans to redeem their past political pledges to repeal and replace Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act, or ACA) is approaching the End Times. But as John Belushi’s Bluto declared in Animal House, “Nothing is over until we decide it is. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?” With a similar command of historical veracity and desperation-fueled zeal, various political coalition builders believe they are on a roll.
The FDA oversees drug quality and tells consumers it is illegal to personally import medicines into US. But on its websites, it acknowledges what nearly everyone who buys online knows to be true, that if you import less than 90 days supply of medicine for personal use the law is not enforced.
Next Tuesday is World Malaria Day and it is an opportunity to reflect on the gains made and the worries remaining in the battling against this age-old scourge, which still kills over half a million children a year. The main UN agency allegedly dealing with disease is the World Health Organization. But sometimes WHO just gets in the way.
Other than whistleblower accounts and one French investigation, all quality infractions perpetuated by India’s drug industry have been unearthed by the US Food and Drug Administration. So it is worrisome that a few well-informed local experts and media are privately suggesting that the local US FDA office in India has recently become heavily influenced by the domestic drug industry.
Scott Gottlieb will undoubtedly improve matters at FDA, and he will need to. One of the challenges will be to increase competition amongst firms making generic medicines. A key reason that some drug prices have escalated in the recent past is because companies have realized they are the only one approved to make a medicine or device and can charge exorbitant prices as a result.
On Tuesday January 24, 2017, I testified before the Subcommittee on Oversight for the House Committee on Ways and Means on “Examining the Effectiveness of the Individual Mandate under the Affordable Care Act.” I would like to highlight one exchange I had with Chairman Vern Buchanan of Florida.
The early indication is that the ACA repeal and replace effort will be led by Congress. People fill vacuums and sputter along until they run into roadblocks. Ultimately, what this reflects more broadly is not just dysfunction in Republican ranks or “Congress versus the White House.”