Turing Pharmaceuticals, the vilified hedge fund-owned prescription drug peddler that increased the cost of its 62-year-old drug from $13.50 to $750 per tablet overnight, has raised new cries for the legislative involvement in pharmaceutical costs which I have been writing about for a while (see related posts herehere and here).

Drug companies are charging up to 600 times what medicine costs to make, a recent Reuters study found. The impact of rising drug cost isn’t new.  What’s new is that because of new high-deductible plan designs, consumers are feeling these costs directly. Drug costs have become a presidential campaign issue: Hillary Clinton has now raised this on her agenda, and my guess is that pharma will feel the pain of regulation sooner than they expected.

Subsidy analysis

Meanwhile, gyrations to the health care systems continue — the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General randomly selected 45 New York state applicants and found that 28 were incorrectly given a subsidy. Twenty seven lied about their income and one admitted to being offered qualified employer-sponsored coverage, but given a subsidy anyway.

Also see: "End of life: The real health care crisis."

The pressure is building for significant changes and more government oversight, but it looks to me like the government can’t handle what is already in front of them. With ICD-10 (new payment coding protocols) coming, the government will be hard pressed to keep up with those that are looking to manipulate the system. No one can afford to put health care on autopilot. A strong adviser is essential.

Hasday is president of Frenkel Benefits, LLC, one of the largest privately held independent employee benefits brokers in the United States. Reach him at chasday@frenkel.com or (212) 488-0200, and read more from Hasday at frenkelyspeaking.com.

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