→ President Donald Trump’s pick to head HHS seems to have only a limited appetite for negotiating drug prices for Medicare. Alex Azar told a Senate panel this week that there could be some opportunities for negotiating drug prices in Part B, but he’s happy with the way private contractors negotiate for Part D drugs. “Where we can do so that preserves innovation and access, I want to look at those areas, and in Part B I believe we can do so,” Azar said, according to a report from Bloomberg. While Trump loudly proclaimed early on that he would be radically lowering drug costs, the administration has been reacting on the policy side with considerably more restraint. Azar, a veteran of Eli Lilly, knows all about the industry’s position on drug pricing and preserving “innovation and access.”
→ AstraZeneca signed a research agreement with a South Korean pharmaceutical company named Dong-A ST to develop new immuno-oncology drug programs. The deal was signed during JPM, the Korea Herald reports, and will involve three oncology projects. Both companies will share any intellectual property that results from the collaboration, with AstraZeneca and Dong-A ST both eligible to get exclusive rights down the road. No details were disclosed.
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