Trending News Today: Antitrust Suit Filed Against Biologic Manufacturer Over Biosimilar Practices

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Last week, officials reported that enrollment in Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans for 2018 nearly reached 2017’s numbers in half the amount of time, according to Kaiser Health News. Final enrollment may be even higher since enrollment is still open for several states, including those affected by natural disasters, and for individuals who were unable to finish singing up before the deadline. The significant number of sign-ups for 2018—which reached 96% of 2017’s sign-ups—was surprising because both critics and supporters of the ACA expected enrollment to be much lower, according to Kaiser.

Pfizer recently filed an antitrust lawsuit against Janssen Biotech over the emergence of an infliximab (Remicade) biosimilar, Kaiser Health News reported. Although Pfizer launched infliximab-dyyb (Inflectra) last winter, the manufacturer is alleging that Janssen is offering steep discounts off its reference biologic and requiring payers to sign exclusionary contracts to keep the biosimilar from gaining traction, according to the article. Policy experts say that biosimilars are the key to reducing spending on costly specialty drugs but practices that keep low-cost alternatives off the market could threaten its effects.

House GOP leaders included $2.85 billion for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in a stop-gap funding bill as effort to prevent government shutdown, according to The Hill. This action will fund CHIP through March 2018 using money from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that was not spent in 2017. Lawmakers also included $550 million in the bill for community health centers, which provide care for 27 million vulnerable Americans, according to the article.

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