December 1, 2020

Around the nation: PhRMA sues to block importation of drugs from Canada

Daily Briefing

    The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America last week filed a lawsuit claiming the final rule poses risks to public health, compromises drugmakers' trade secrets, and will not save consumers money, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Florida, Ohio, and South Dakota.

    • District of Columbia: The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the Partnership for Safe Medicines, and the Council for Affordable Health Coverage last week filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the Trump administration's final rule allowing states to import drugs from Canada. PhRMA in the lawsuit argued that the final rule, which the administration issued Sept. 24, poses risks to public health, compromises drugmakers' trade secrets, and will not save consumers money. The lawsuit comes as Canada on Friday began blocking bulk exports of prescription drugs that would create domestic shortages. "Certain drugs intended for the Canadian market are prohibited from being distributed for consumption outside of Canada if that sale would cause or worsen a drug shortage," Health Minister Patty Hajdu said. "Companies will now also be required to provide information to assess existing or potential shortages, when requested, and within 24 hours if there is a serious or imminent health risk," Hajdu added. According to Reuters, the White House and HHS did not immediately respond to requests for comments (Cohen, Inside Health Policy, 11/23 [subscription required]; Scherer, Reuters, 11/28; Cohrs, Modern Healthcare, 11/24).
    • Florida/Ohio: Cleveland Clinic and Lee Health last month announced they have established a strategic alliance aimed at improving patient care in Southwest Florida. Under the alliance, the two health systems will share clinical and operational best practices and collaborate on projects intended to improve efficiency of care, reduce health care costs, and increase care access. The organizations also will explore opportunities for service line affiliations. A Cleveland Clinic spokesperson told Becker's Hospital Review that the two organizations will likely evaluate Lee Health's heart and vascular, orthopedics, oncology and neuroscience services for affiliation (Paavola, Becker's Hospital Review, 11/20).
    • South Dakota: Sanford Health has appointed Bill Gassen as president and CEO. Gassen, who previously served as the health system's chief administrative officer, succeeds Kelby Krabbenhoft, who last week "agreed to part ways" with Sanford. Sanford did not provide an explanation for Krabbenhoft's departure, but his exit came after Krabbenhoft sent an email to staff saying he would not wear a face mask because he had already contracted Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus (Fugleberg, St. Paul Pioneer Press/Forum News Service, 11/25; Hackett, Healthcare Finance News, 11/25).


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