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Pre-empting Dems on health care? HHS announces “pathways” for Canada drug purchases

Westlake Legal Group trump-point2 Pre-empting Dems on health care? HHS announces “pathways” for Canada drug purchases The Blog pharmaceuticals Imports Drugs donald trump Department of Health and Human Services Canada Alex Azar 2020 election

Democrats ate the GOP’s lunch on health-care messaging in 2018’s midterms. The Trump administration might be preparing better for the 2020 election. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar rolled out a new initiative today that would allow for prescription purchases from Canada, addressing a key Democratic talking point on the cost of health care:

“President Trump has been clear: for too long American patients have been paying exorbitantly high prices for prescription drugs that are made available to other countries at lower prices. When we released the President’s drug pricing blueprint – PDF for putting American patients first, we said we are open to all potential solutions to combat high drug prices that protect patient safety, are effective at delivering lower prices, and respect choice, innovation and access,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. “Today’s announcement outlines the pathways the Administration intends to explore to allow safe importation of certain prescription drugs to lower prices and reduce out of pocket costs for American patients. This is the next important step in the Administration’s work to end foreign freeloading and put American patients first.”

The Action Plan outlines the government’s intention to pursue two pathways to allow safe drug importation from foreign markets:

  1. Through a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), HHS and FDA would propose to rely on the authority under current federal law (Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FD&C Act”) Section 804) that would, when the rule is finalized, authorize pilot (or demonstration) projects developed by states, wholesalers or pharmacists and submitted for HHS review, outlining how they would import certain drugs from Canada that are versions of FDA-approved drugs that are manufactured consistent with the FDA approval. The NPRM would include conditions to ensure the importation poses no additional risk to the public’s health and safety and that the demonstration projects would achieve significant cost savings to the American consumer.
  2. Through guidance, FDA would provide recommendations to manufacturers of FDA-approved drugs who seek to import into the U.S. versions of those drugs they sell in foreign countries. Under this pathway, manufacturers would use a new National Drug Code (NDC) for those products, potentially allowing them to offer a lower price than what their current distribution contracts require. To use this pathway, the manufacturer or entity authorized by the manufacturer would establish with the FDA that the foreign version is the same as the U.S. version and appropriately label the drug for sale in the U.S. This pathway could be particularly helpful to patients with significantly high cost prescription drugs. This would potentially include medications like insulin used to treat diabetes, as well as those used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disorders, and cancer.

The crescendo for action on this issue has built for some time. It came up in the ObamaCare debate, but Democrats successfully capitalized on growing anger over escalating prices in the US in recent months. Trump had also campaigned on the issue in 2016 but hadn’t taken any action, leaving him politically vulnerable, the Associated Press noted:

The administration’s move comes as the industry is facing a litany of consumer complaints over drug prices, as well as legislation from both parties in Congress to rein in costs. President Donald Trump is supporting a Senate bill to cap medication costs for Medicare recipients. …

As a candidate, Trump called for allowing Americans to import prescription drugs from abroad, and recently he’s backed a Florida law allowing state residents to gain access to medications from Canada.

Trump spiked the football shortly afterward:

The question of pharmaceutical importation has its complexities, and it might not be a great idea in terms of long-term policy outcomes. For one thing, drug prices in Canada are artificially low thanks to intervention by the Canadian government, which will be tougher to maintain if demand increases exponentially via re-importation into the US. (Canadians in particular might not be very happy about what happens to their drug prices.) It doesn’t solve the major problems in pharmaceutical production costs, which are consolidation in the industry, copyright issues, and bureaucratic delays in FDA approvals, among others. It’s a Band-Aid over a gaping wound.

However, it’s going to be a very popular Band-Aid in the short run. The new HHS effort also lends itself to a slow rollout, which will play right into Trump’s need to pre-empt Democrats on health care in this cycle, as the Washington Post notes, and that’s very much the purpose of this and other initiatives coming down the pike:

White House advisers, scrambling to create a health-care agenda for President Trump to promote on the campaign trail, are meeting at least daily with the aim of rolling out a measure every two to three weeks until the 2020 election.

One of the initiatives would allow states to import lower-priced drugs from Canada and other countries and bar Medicare from paying more than any other country for prescription drugs — controversial ideas in line with Democratic proposals. Yet it remains unclear the administration has the legal authority to execute some of these policies without Congress. …

One lobbyist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, described being stunned at a recent White House meeting when Domestic Policy Council Director Joe Grogan said the administration would not let Democrats run to the president’s left on lowering the prices of prescription medicines.

In another tense meeting, top pharmaceutical executives were told bluntly “it wasn’t in the industry’s best interests” to block the bipartisan Senate bill backed by Trump. If it failed, they were told, they’d see “the president of the United States negotiating with Nancy Pelosi [on allowing the government to negotiate drug prices in Medicare],” said a person familiar with the meeting.

It might be better for Trump if Congress balks at the initiatives, or if courts block it. That way he gets the benefit of fighting for the people without the risk of incurring the long-term negative impacts of the policies themselves. It also dilutes Democrats’ ability to use health care as a sledgehammer in suburban districts as they successfully did in 2018. In terms of electoral strategy, posturing usually beats legislating, and it certainly beats dealing with unintended consequences. Barack Obama knew that well enough to delay ObamaCare’s rollout until a year after his re-election.

The post Pre-empting Dems on health care? HHS announces “pathways” for Canada drug purchases appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group trump-point2-300x173 Pre-empting Dems on health care? HHS announces “pathways” for Canada drug purchases The Blog pharmaceuticals Imports Drugs donald trump Department of Health and Human Services Canada Alex Azar 2020 election   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Sponsored Post: David Leighton: It’s time to turbo-charge trade

David Leighton is Group Head of Corporate Affairs & Marketing at Associated British Ports (ABP). This is a sponsored post by ABP.

As the UK begins a new phase in its journey towards delivering Brexit, the Government’s intention to “turbo-charge” the nation’s preparations for no deal has been made clear. Whilst leaving the EU without a deal is not a desirable outcome for many, it is vital to make sure that British businesses are thoroughly prepared. It is also vital to look beyond Brexit and to turbo-charge the nation’s capacity to export and trade, and preparing for no deal can be part of that.

As the UK’s leading port operator, handling one quarter of the nation’s seaborne trade, ABP remains committed to making sure our ports are ready for a No Deal Brexit, in particular offering our Humber ports as alternatives to Dover where the risk of disruption is greatest. Since 2016 ABP has invested more than £250 million across its network of 21 ports around Britain, including the expansion of our container facilities on the Humber at Immingham and Hull. As well as working closely with government and customers, ABP has deepened co-operation with other European ports connected with the Humber who share our determination to keep trade moving efficiently.

It is also vital to look beyond Brexit and to turbo-charge the nation’s capacity to export and trade, and preparing for No Deal can be part of that.

Importantly, ABP’s approach offers longer-term benefits for businesses and the economy. Because the Humber is closer to many of the UK’s principal centres for manufacturing and distribution, making greater use of its ports for EU trade can facilitate easier and more resilient access to export markets. In addition, by enabling a significant reduction in distances travelled by HGVs on Britain’s roads, there is an opportunity to improve safety and cut CO2 emissions to help tackle climate change. Research by the University of Hull Logistics Institute has demonstrated that moving just ten per cent of cargo from Dover to the Humber, destined for distribution hubs in the North and Midlands, can save 100,000 tonnes of CO2e every year.

But ramping up the UK’s wider preparations for a No Deal Brexit can also deliver longer-term benefits, boosting the nation’s exports and trade.

One of the potential gaps in the UK’s No Deal readiness is that too few businesses trading with the EU are registered to make customs declarations; recent reports indicate that only one third of the estimated 240,000 EU-trading UK firms have signed up for so-called ‘EORI status’. Further, customs processes are currently not all that easy to swiftly get to grips with. Consequently, there is an urgent need for a high profile campaign to encourage more businesses to prepare for No Deal and to direct those businesses to a source of information that offers simplified, straightforward guidance about what they need to do.

Encouraging more businesses to prepare for No Deal by acquiring the capability to deal with customs procedures is just one of the ways we can strengthen the UK’s No Deal readiness and, at the same time, help increase the nation’s capacity to export to growth markets across the world; one part of achieving ‘Global Britain’.

Delivering real success in boosting exports and trade also depends on a much bolder, long term and inspiring vision for the economy with exports and trade at its heart.

Another important policy priority to help prepare for No Deal, as well as enhance the competitiveness of the UK’s ports outside the Customs Union, is to drive the establishment of free ports.

Free ports enable goods to move in and out of ports without requiring the payment of customs duty, as long as the goods remain inside specially designated zones. Free ports can therefore attract more trade and create jobs, but not solely in port or logistics operations. Many ports and sites located adjacent to ports, such as Port Talbot and the Humber International Enterprise Park, offer large areas of development land close to deep water, ideal for facilitating the efficient import of raw materials or components and export of finished products. Free ports can capitalise on these advantages and make these sites even more attractive for investment in new manufacturing.

A 2016 report authored by Rishi Sunak, now Chief Secretary of the Treasury, indicated that free ports can deliver 86,000 new jobs and in areas where jobs are most needed. The report notes that of the UK’s 30 largest ports, 17 are in the bottom quartile of Local Authorities when ranked by the ONS’ Index of Multiple Deprivation. Free ports is a further example of a policy that can both underpin No Deal readiness and support longer-term growth in exports and trade, as well as helping transform Britain’s hard-pressed coastal communities.

Vigorous debate and disagreement about a more determined approach to no deal Brexit will continue. Yet it remains the case that lying within this endeavour there are actions that Government can take that will deliver longer term benefits whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

We need to build a shared agenda capable of making sure the UK continues to strengthen its position as a world-leading exporter.

There are of course many other steps which need be taken to increase Britain’s exports and trade. For the ports sector, which handles 95 per cent of the UK’s trade in goods, they include prioritising investment in the transport infrastructure connecting ports to make sure businesses have the best possible access to global markets. It is also important to enable ports to develop and grow to meet customer demand.

One example is the Port of Southampton, the UK’s number one export port. Every year the port handles £40 billion of exports, including £36 billion destined for countries outside the EU. Major British manufacturers such as JLR rely on the port’s infrastructure to export their products all over the world, which is why some 11,700 jobs in the automotive sector rely on the port in the West Midlands alone. Making sure the port is well-connected and can continue to grow is fundamental to the future success and competitiveness of exporters throughout the country.

Ultimately, delivering real success in boosting exports and trade also depends on a much bolder, long term and inspiring vision for the economy with exports and trade at its heart; it demands genuinely ambitious goals; and it requires a much broader strategy. In 2017, ABP published a policy paper advocating a ‘Trade First’ review of government policy, cutting across all relevant government departments. The purpose of the review would be to make sure policy across Whitehall is aligned with the goal of increasing exports and trade. Its scope would need to include departments such as education in order to excite new generations to export and trade across the world, and to equip them with the skills they need to achieve that.

We need to build a shared agenda capable of making sure the UK continues to strengthen its position as a world-leading exporter, eliminating the trade deficit and creating a stronger foundation for the nation’s long-term prosperity. That work needs to start now. It’s time to turbo-charge trade.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

WATCH: Barclay says that small businesses are behind on no-deal planning

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

WATCH: “The US is committed to a phenomenal trade deal” with the UK, Trump says

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Rebound: Economic growth hits 3.2% in Q1

Westlake Legal Group rebound-economic-growth-hits-3-2-in-q1 Rebound: Economic growth hits 3.2% in Q1 trade The Blog Imports GDP exports Economy donald trump

Westlake Legal Group TrumpPhoenixSpeechThumbsUp715-8-17 Rebound: Economic growth hits 3.2% in Q1 trade The Blog Imports GDP exports Economy donald trump

It’s been years since our operating philosophy was “it’s the economy, stupid,” but perhaps it’s time to return to it. Economic growth spiked upward in a quarter usually known for its retreats, hitting an annualized rate of 3.2% growth in Q1. That’s a full point above 2018Q4’s disappointing 2.2% growth rate:

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019 (table 1), according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter of 2018, real GDP increased 2.2 percent.

The Bureau’s first-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see “Source Data for the Advance Estimate” on page 2). The “second” estimate for the first quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on May 30, 2019.

The increase in real GDP in the first quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, exports, state and local government spending, and nonresidential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased (table 2). These contributions were partly offset by a decrease in residential investment.

Not only does it show a recovery from a disappointing previous quarter, it breaks a Q1 trend that had developed over the last few years. For some reason, economic growth measures in the first quarter became oddly depressed; the last three years, the Q1 GDP turned out to be the worst reading of each year, sometimes dramatically so as in the past two years.

That’s not to say that there aren’t some potential dark clouds on the horizon. Personal income didn’t increase as much in Q1 as it did in the previous quarter despite the higher growth rate. Disposable personal income only increased at an annualized rate of 2.4%, just over half the Q4 rate of 4.3%. That may have led to a falloff on the rate of growth for consumer spending (PCE), which fell from 3.5% in 2018Q3 to 2.5% in Q4, and again to 1.2% in Q1.

If consumer spending expansion didn’t drive the quarter’s growth results, what did? A significant drop in imports helped, falling 3.7% from the previous quarter. Exports also grew 3.7%, which doubled the impact from trade. Business investment had a strong quarter, growing 5.1%, mainly in intellectual-property investment. The growth rate of 2.5% for final sales to domestic purchasers shows that inventory expansion played a significant role in the overall GDP number too. However, with income and consumer spending growth slowing, those factors may well be too transient to expect them to last into Q2.

The Washington Post cheers the report with a headline that it “smashed expectations,” but also notes the longer-term issues:

The U.S. economy expanded at a strong 3.2 percent annualized rate from January through March, the U.S. Commerce Department said Friday, mainly because of companies beefing up their inventories and a smaller trade deficit, factors that aren’t expected to last.

Better-than-expected growth, the ongoing strength in the job market and fresh stock market highs this week are allaying fears that a recession or severe downturn is on the horizon.

Many economists initially predicted anemic growth at the start of 2019 as the partial government shutdown and a rash of extremely cold weather caused many businesses and consumers to hit the pause button on big purchases, but forecasters raised their estimates to 2.3 percent as it became clear companies were re-stocking their shelves. Growth ended up coming in almost a full percentage point higher than expected, the best start to the year since 2015.

Over half of the strong first quarter growth was driven by a surge in inventories and U.S. exports to other nations. State and local government spending also boosted growth by the biggest amount in three years.

Bloomberg highlighted weaker demand in the report:

Gross domestic product expanded at a 3.2 percent annualized rate in the January-March period, according to Commerce Department data Friday that topped all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey calling for 2.3 percent growth. That followed a 2.2 percent advance in the prior three months.

But underlying demand was weaker than the headline number indicated. Consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, rose a slightly-above-forecast 1.2 percent, while business investment cooled. A Federal Reserve-preferred inflation measure, the personal consumption expenditures price index excluding food and energy, slowed to 1.3 percent, well below policy makers’ 2 percent objective.

Even so, the data showing faster growth and tame inflation helped push U.S. stock futures higher and Treasury yields lower on Friday.

Overall, it’s good news. It might just not be quite as good as the top-line GDP growth rate suggests. If any of the cautionary figures are still dealing with the Q1 reporting blues, however, we might see a very big Q2.

The post Rebound: Economic growth hits 3.2% in Q1 appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group TrumpPhoenixSpeechThumbsUp715-8-17-300x162 Rebound: Economic growth hits 3.2% in Q1 trade The Blog Imports GDP exports Economy donald trump   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com