Ohio Medicaid program demands new payment strategy after journalists explain how PBMs use ‘spread pricing’

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: afagen via Flickr

Over the past six months, journalists for the Columbus Dispatch have written more than 40 articles about the murky world of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in Ohio. This week, they wrote one of the most important stories in this ongoing series, “Ohio firing pharmacy middlemen that cost taxpayers millions.”

In this article, they explained that the Ohio Department of Medicaid was changing the way it pays for prescription drugs by, “giving the boot to all pharmacy middlemen” because the Medicaid program wants to shift away from what’s called the “spread pricing” practice. Continue reading

Increased optimism about new Alzheimer’s drugs, tests

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: AJ Cann via Flickr

You may have recently heard about the multimillion-dollar donation that Bill Gates and Leonard Lauder made to support research into biomarkers for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

The Diagnostics Accelerator initiative is part of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation’s (ADDF) effort to speed diagnosis and develop drugs that can prevent, treat, and cure the disease. Lauder was an ADDF co-founder. Continue reading

Landmark oral health report due for an update

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: ca_heckler via Flickr

In his landmark Oral Health in America report in 2000, then-Surgeon General David Satcher reminded the nation that oral health is essential to general health. Satcher hailed progress made in the scientific understanding of common oral maladies such as tooth decay.

But at the same time, Satcher warned of a “silent epidemic” of oral disease burdening millions of Americans, including poor children and seniors, minorities and those living with disabilities. Continue reading

Newly merged infectious disease organization offers journalists’ resources

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: CDCAedes aegypti

More than five million children around the world die before the age of five from infectious diseases like pneumonia, malaria and measles, and scientist John Aitchison wants to talk to journalists about his work to reverse that trend.

“We can help journalists with the significance or size of an issue and provide understanding of why a disease is hard to cure or treat,” says Aitchison, whose organization, the Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR) announced plans in July 2018 to merge with the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Continue reading

Series explores how pharmacy contracts obscure drug pricing details from consumers

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

When covering prescription drug pricing, one problem that journalists face is understanding the almost-labyrinthian complexity of the drug supply chain, from manufacturer to consumer.

For one of its first investigations, the young publication Tarbell set out to explain why drug prices are so high. In doing so, Tarbell Editor Randy Barrett describes in great detail the complex world of pharmacy pricing. Continue reading