Healthcare Matters Round-Up

Tom's been talking everything from politics to private label strategy. Go get your fill!

What is Your Private Label Strategy? Does it Fit with Your Distributors', GPOs' and Favorite Manufacturers'? -- At every level of the supply chain, private labeling strategies have been kicked around for years. Branded manufacturers do it as a way to further leverage their manufacturing assets and grab some incremental share in mature product markets, but they're very careful about it. And ironically, major distributors often do it as a way to establish and/or enhance their brand equity. Most everyone else does it to make more money or save a bunch, because as long as excess manufacturing capacity exists, the opportunities will be out there.

New Disclosure Rules Pending: A Step in the Right Direction -- In a move to eliminate medical conflicts of interest, the Obama Administration is set to require drug, device and supply companies to disclose the payments made to doctors, whether it's "for research, consulting, speaking, travel and entertainment." They are really trying to cover the spectrum. The thought is, these disclosures should increase the probability that physicians would make better decisions –more in line with the specific needs of patients--without having to consider their financial interests.

UPMC and Highmark –Inviting Government Intervention -- UPMC (formerly the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) is one of the largest and most profitable Integrated Delivery and Finance Systems (IDFS) in the United States. Because it is located in the biggest small town in America and also happens to be its region's largest employer, not only does everyone know its business, everyone takes its business personally.

Sometimes a Bad Idea is Just a Bad Idea: Eliminating Medical Device Tax May Have Bi-Partisan Support -- Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen of Minnesota sponsored a bill called the "Protect Medical Innovation Act–a timely piece of legislation designed to repeal the tax on medical devices imposed under the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. "ACA," "ObamaCare"). Believe it or not, Paulsen has successfully rallied the minimum number of votes (218 co-sponsors) required to pass the bill. If it happens, the CBO will be obliged to take another $20 billion off the revenue side of the ACA's ever-changing balance sheet.

The Individual Mandate: Will The Supreme Court Actually Kick the Can Down the Road? -- The date is set. This coming March 26th, the Supreme Court hearings on the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision in ObamaCare will begin. Usually, the Supreme Court only listens to arguments for a few days, but it has made an exception in this case and agreed to three. Obviously, the extra time should help! The Court's spring term ends in late June, so it's fair to expect a ruling by then.

- Sheena Moore

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