House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security: “Fentanyl Analogues: Perspectives on Classwide Scheduling”
Tuesday, January 28, 2020: The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security on Judiciary held a hearing on the fentanyl crisis, and the wider discussion of prescription drug scheduling practices. Find more details on the hearing here.
Why this is important: Following the hearing, on Jan. 29, House passed a bill that would temporarily extend the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) classwide ban on all variants of fentanyl.
House Education and Labor Committee, Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions, and the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections: “Expecting More: Addressing America’s Maternal and Infant Health Crisis”
Tuesday, January 28, 2020: The Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions, and the Workforce Protections subcommittee of the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on the current maternal and infant mortality crisis. Find more details on the hearing here.
Why this is important: The United States has the worst maternal mortality rate among developed countries. Each year, 700 women die from pregnancy and 50,000 women suffer from pregnancy complications. Outcomes in the U.S. are moving in the opposite direction. The 2016 mortality rate was nearly 17 per 100,000 live births, more than the rate in 1987.
House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health: “Improving Safety and Transparency in America’s Food and Drugs”
Wednesday, January 29, 2020: The Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Energy and Commerce held a legislative hearing to discuss health and safety concerns in food and drug consumption. Find more details on the hearing here.
Why this is important: In comments during the hearing, there was general bipartisan support for the Fairness in Orphan Drug Exclusivity Act, H.R. 4712, which would close a loophole in the 1983 Orphan Drug Act that provides companies with financial incentives and a seven-year exclusivity period for drugs by convincing FDA they will not recoup their development costs. The committee also supported bills that would allow the FDA to enforce updated generic drug labels and crack down on counterfeit device imports, H.R. 5663, and one that would provide $80 million to fund research on manufacturing processes that could improve and speed drug production, H.R. 4866. The panel also heard from Jeff Allen, president and CEO of Friends of Cancer Research, who argued for H.R. 5668, the Modern Labeling Act, which would enable FDA to order label changes for generic drugs whose brand-name versions had been withdrawn.
Senate Special Committee on Aging: “That’s Not the Government Calling: Protecting Seniors from the Social Security Impersonation Scam”
Wednesday, January 29, 2020: The Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing on government impersonation scams aimed at American seniors. Witnesses include victims and the commissioner, and other representatives, of the Social Security Administration (SSA). Find more details on the hearing here.
Ways and Means Plans Mid-February Markup for Surprise Billing Plan
On Jan. 29, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) announced that the committee is likely to have a markup of the committee’s approach to “surprise” medical billing on Feb. 12, with the expectation that language will be released this week. In addition, the House Education and Labor Committee Chairman, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) announced his committee is also considering surprise billing legislation and will likely hold a markup in two weeks.
Energy and Commerce Plans Coronavirus Hearing
On Jan. 30, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee chairwoman, Anna Eshoo (D-CA), announced that the subcommittee will hold the first congressional hearing on the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak next week, in a bid to make facts about the virus “simple and clear” to the public.
Read more on healthcare policy on the McGuireWoods Consulting website.