National / International News
North Korea's National Defense Commission, which is headed by the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, said its military was ready to fight America "in all war spaces including cyber warfare space."
A high-profile school tech program; a federal corruption investigation and the resignation of the superintendent.
A newly-approved drug for Hepatitis C will be the only treatment covered for many patients whose employers use a company called Express Scripts for their pharmacy benefits.
Last year, Gilead Sciences Inc. introduced a highly-effective hepatitis C drug, with an $84,000 price tag. Those kinds of prices have been more common for drugs treating conditions so rare they are sometimes called “orphan diseases." Hepatitis C, on the other hand, affects more than three million people.
"These were orphan-drug prices for common diseases," says Steve Miller, chief medical officer for Express Scripts. "That’s just not sustainable."
The sticker price on the new drug, from AbbVie Inc., is just a tiny bit cheaper— $83,319— but Express Scripts has negotiated a discount.
The company says patients will benefit through expanded access to the drug, which has generally only been covered for people with advanced stages of the disease.
On the other hand, the new arrangement limits treatment options for patients. It's too soon to tell whether that downside will be significant, says Jack Hoadley, a research professor with Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute. AbbVie's drug was approved on December 19, just days before the Express Scripts deal was announced.
"This drug is so recently approved we’re only going to be learning over time whether there are some patients this drug doesn’t work as well for," says Hoadley.
Express Scripts covers about 25 million people directly. It also administers drug benefits for another 65 million through health insurance plans.
People argue for network neutrality on the internet, but what about prescription neutrality? More on the news that Express Scripts introduced an exclusivity deal with AbbVie's new Hepatitis C medication. And Freddie Mac reports there’s a shortage of rental housing, giving a boost to big investors who bought thousands of foreclosed houses on a bet they’d be able to jack up rents. Now they can. Plus, with the coming of the new year, Sony plans to roll out an Internet-based live-TV service on its video game consoles. It's called Playstation Vue, and it will initially have about 75 channels - ones we traditionally associate with cable, like MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. The idea is to marry traditional cable with a cloud-based, Netflix-like user interface.