NY Attorney General Targets Drug Companies

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A crusading leftist attorney general in New York is going after health insurers for allegedly refusing to cover expensive hepatitis C drugs that are likely to prove cost-saving in the long run.

The push by the Left and some market participants to impose price controls on drugs, especially hepatitis C medications, was examined by Dr. David Hogberg in last month’s issue of Organization Trends. (Hogberg is also author of Medicare’s Victims: How the U.S. Government’s Largest Health Care Program Harms Patients and Impairs Physicians.)

Previously dubbed “Inspector Gotcha” by one critic, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a progressive Democrat, has reportedly issued subpoenas to insurance companies in hopes of unearthing proof that they are skimping on care in order to fatten their bottom lines.

Next stop? Probably a demand for price controls.

So-called health care reform organizations view expensive drugs as a growing threat to government-provided health care, regardless of the potential benefits the drugs may bestow on patients.

“Some of the drugs have been the subject of consumer lawsuits, a continuing inquiry by the Massachusetts attorney general and a warning by federal officials that state Medicaid programs may be violating federal law by denying patients the medication,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Pharmaceutical companies say the drugs are worth the cost because they result in long-term savings in care.”

Activist groups in Washington State are suing insurers Group Health Cooperative and BridgeSpan for allegedly restricting access to hep-C medicines except for the “most severely ill” people based on “financial concerns.” Groups in California filed similar lawsuits last year against Anthem Blue Cross.

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