Trending News Today: Flu Season Causes Health Stocks to Plummet

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, recently said he will do everything in his power to fight high drug prices and the companies that are blocking competition in the marketplace, according to Kaiser Health News. In an interview with Kaiser, Dr Gottlieb said he is interested in expediting the approval process for generic drugs and biosimilars. Currently, the FDA is working to ensure that drug makers are not using the 180-day exclusivity period to prevent generics from entering the market, according to the article.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said yesterday that the agency has not decided whether states will be allowed to put a lifetime cap on Medicaid, The Hill reported. Thus far, at least 5 states have requested to implement a cap on how long beneficiaries can receive Medicaid coverage. If approved, this change would mark the second significant alteration to the program, following the recently approved work requirements for beneficiaries, according to the article.

Health insurance stocks have taken a dive due to the 2017/2018 influenza pandemic, according to Bloomberg. Traders have been purchasing hospital stocks while selling insurer stocks more frequently since this year’s flu strain has proven resilient while the vaccine is less effective. Bloomberg reported that hospital shares increased 2.9% yesterday likely due to a rise in flu-related hospital and emergency service utilization.