Trending News Today: Government Rejects Petition to Reduce Prostate Cancer Drug Price

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

A recent study found that a free meal or a small gift from drug manufacturers can influence which medicines physicians prescribe to patients insured by Medicare, even if the drug would be costlier. The meals were worth less than $20, but makes physicians feel like they should at least hear out the sales representatives. The researchers also found that physicians who received a meal from Pfizer were twice as likely to prescribe Pristiq compared with physicians who did not receive anything, according to The New York Times.

The federal government has rejected a petition to decrease the price of Xtandi, a prostate cancer drug created with taxpayer money. The petition aims to reduce to $129,000 per year price, according to The New York Times. This price is approximately 2 to 4 times the price in the US than in other countries.

The $35 billion Aetna-Humana Merger has recently been approved by a California regulator, but still needs to be approved by the US Department of Justice. It was approved by the regulator under the conditions that the company limits premium increases and allows greater state oversight of its rate, according to the Los Angeles Times. The merger would create a company that would have a large role in Medicare Advantage.