By Sarah Ferris and Peter Sullivan - 03/17/16 06:06 PM EDT
TURING ON THE HOT SEAT: It was the Senate's turn to tear into Martin Shkreli's former company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, on Thursday.
The Senate Aging Committee, led by Sens. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsThe Trail 2016: Words matter Lobbyists bolting Trump convention early GOP sen at convention: I'm not ruling out voting for Clinton MORE (R-Maine) and Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillWatchdog faults Energy Department over whistleblower retaliation Wagner passes on NRCC bid, backs Stivers Senate Dem: Trump will pick 'handsome' Pence MORE (D-Mo.), spent more than two hours railing against top executives at Turing over high drug prices.
"Almost no patient pays that price," Tilles said during a heated back-and-forth with Warren.
"Saying 'almost' is not very good if it's your child who's in trouble," Warren retorted. "You can't just shove this off."
Shkreli, the company's former lightning rod CEO, has since stepped down after facing federal fraud charges separate from his work at the company. Much of his former coworkers' appearance at the Senate on Thursday was doing damage control. Read more here. http://bit.ly/1Z6gLGZ
ZIKA CASES AT 450 AND RISING: About 450 people in the United States have been infected with the Zika virus, the White House's top health official told The Hill on Thursday.
$200K WORTH OF TRUMP ATTACKS ON OBAMACARE: The influential Club for Growth released a 30-second ad on Thursday, warning that Trump has "repeatedly reaffirmed his support for a health care mandate and for government-run health care."
The ad, worth about $200,000, will be shown statewide in Utah ahead of its majority-take-all caucus. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1U9IbNb
CANCER GROUPS LINE UP AGAINST MEDICARE COST PLAN: Dozens of cancer groups are pushing back against the Obama administration's plans for reforming payments under Medicare Part B, which it warns "would wreak havoc" on patients.
The administration announced last week that it plans to pilot a new Part B payment structure intended to incentivize doctors to prescribe "higher-value" drugs rather than simply the most expensive drugs available. That pilot would begin sometime this fall, pending the new federal regulations. Read more here: http://bit.ly/22ot0UT
HATCH STILL SEES "PROBLEMS" WITH HHS NOMINEE: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin HatchBacteria found ahead of Olympics underscores need for congressional action for new antibiotics Burr pledges to retire after one more Senate term Leaders appoint allies, adversaries to Puerto Rico growth task force MORE (R-Utah) says there is a "real question" about President Obama's nominee to be deputy Health and Human Services secretary, in part over questions about an abortion law investigation moving too slowly. Mary Wakefield's nomination is currently before Hatch's committee.
"There's a real question right now about her and I intend to try and call her up, but we'll have to work through the problems," Hatch told The Hill. Read more here. http://bit.ly/1TRUxcr
COOL MAP ALERT: Check out this new map from CMS, with more county-level Medicare data than you ever thought you wanted. Which states are paying the most for obesity? (Nevada, West Virginia, Colorado). Which states have the highest prevalence of Alzheimer's disease? (New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Texas, Florida). Which states have the most depression cases? (Maine, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma). Plus there's three years of data.
WHAT WE'RE READING:
Docs who get company cash tend to prescribe more brand-name meds (ProPublica)
Lead-tainted water in schools, day cares across US (USA Today)
UnitedHealth takes on CVS-Express Scripts with Walgreens deal (Bloomberg)
CEO of GlaxoSmithKline to retire (Wall Street Journal)
IN THE STATES:
Alabama punts Medicaid to special session (AL.com)
Arkansas governor hosting town hall on controversial Medicaid plan (Fox 13)
Editorial: Prescription limits aren't the solution to Maine's heroin crisis (Bangor Daily News)
Bill empowering pharmacists on birth control advances in Tennessee House (Tennessean)
ICYMI FROM THE HILL:
Michigan governor, EPA chief under fire for Flint http://bit.ly/1pOHfRq
WHO: West Africa free from Ebola, for now http://bit.ly/1nRWmIe