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FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the agency will bring back 400 furloughed staff to perform and support inspections, although it still can’t pay them.
Also, Gottlieb and the agency’s biologics division head promised new policies on cell-based and genetic therapies later this year — no details yet, however.
The Trump administration has been sued — again — over its re-approval of work requirements for Kentucky’s Medicaid program. (The Hill)
U.S. Attorney General nominee William Barr told a Senate panel he would reconsider the administration’s decision not to defend the Affordable Care Act in court. (Reuters)
Bayer will virtually eliminate its long-time presence in Pittsburgh (it was once the company’s U.S. pharma hub) and lay off nearly 600 workers. (Pittsburgh Business Times)
Patients with CVS drug plans won’t be able any longer to pick up their prescriptions at Walmart, thanks to a pricing dispute. (Bloomberg)
Mount Carmel Health System in Columbus, Ohio, fired William Husel, DO, and took 20 other employees away from patient care after the physician was found to have ordered excessive amounts of pain medication for at least 27 near-death patients; the Cleveland Clinic, where Husel did his residency, is reviewing his records there. (Cleveland.com)
HHS Secretary Alex Azar met with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, to discuss ways to lower prescription drug prices. (The Hill)
Meanwhile, Cummings’s committee has launched an investigation into a dozen drug companies’ pricing policies. (STAT)
The Department of Veterans Affairs disputed a union official’s claim that a continued government shutdown would result in suicides among veterans. (The Washington Examiner)
In a court filing, Massachusetts’ attorney general accused members of the Sackler family, which owned Purdue Pharma, of personally directing employees to mislead patients and physicians about OxyContin’s addictive potential. (The New York Times)
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