PHARMACY

House Dems push through revised SCHIP, but GOP claims partisanship

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON The House of Representatives approved a new version of legislation to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program yesterday, but the vote failed to get any more Republicans to override another promised veto from President Bush.

Democratic leaders decided the new revision would state the exclusion of illegal immigrants from the program, which would motivate state governments to drop families earning more than 300 percent of the poverty line, which will ultimately force adults off of the program.

Under both versions, the combined average monthly enrollment in SCHIP and Medicaid would be about 34.1 million people, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But there is a shift toward serving poorer children, a key Republican demand. In the new bill, Medicaid enrollment alone would be about 400,000 individuals higher than under the vetoed bill, while SCHIP enrollment would be about that much lower, according to CBO documents.

Almost half of the 3.9 million uninsured children projected to gain coverage under the revised bill, of whom about 80 percent live below the poverty level, would be covered under Medicaid, said Genevieve Kenney, an Urban Institute health economist.

According to The Washington Post, the 265 to 142 tally included 43 Republicans, two fewer than the version that passed Sept. 25.

Republicans called for a postponement of the vote due to the absence of nine members House touring the wildfire disaster in California, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., insisted she had no choice but to move forward and give the Senate a chance to send the measure to Bush next week. “If Republicans believe in SCHIP as they say they do . . . then they won’t be looking for an excuse to vote against the bill,” Pelosi said.

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GSK ready to cut jobs following quarterly losses

BY Drew Buono

PHILADELPHIA GlaxoSmithKline is ready to let some of its workers go to make up for its recent report of lost earnings.

The company reported that total pharmaceutical turnover for the third quarter fell by 2% to $9.4 billion. In the United States, turnover fell 7% to $4.5 billion, impacted by continued generic competition and largely because of a 38 percent drop in sales of its diabetes drug Avandia.

The plan is a three-year $1.4 billion move that includes job cuts, most likely starting at its Avandia sales force. According to the London Times, the company is awaiting what the Food and Drug Administration will report about their findings on Avandia and if it should receive a “black box” warning for heart attack risks.

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FDA approves Marillion NDA for novel cancer treatment

BY Drew Buono

MALVERN, Pa. Marillion Pharmaceuticals has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for it investigational new drug application for its lead product candidate MN-201, a vitamin D5 analog for the treatment of cancer.

The drug will now proceed to Phase 1 human clinical trial for patients with advanced tumors in various cancers.

In preclinical studies, MN-201 performed well against cancer cells. In animal models, MN-201 also resulted in anti-tumor activity including tumor regression in xenograft models of major solid tumor types. In contrast to treatment with other vitamin D(3) analogs and the naturally occurring vitamin D hormone, calcitriol, favorable anticancer effects with MN-201 were observed in the absence of significantly raised calcium levels.

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