On Monday, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced S. 214, a bill to prohibit pay-for-delay settlements. The bill precedes the Supreme Court’s hearing on the legality of pay-for-delay settlements regarding AndroGel, which is scheduled for March 25. Grassley introduced a similar bill in 2010. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), and Tim Johnson (D-SD).
Last week, Republican leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) threatening to subpoena the agency for documents related to the meningitis outbreak associated with drugs from the New England Compounding Center (NECC). Although FDA has submitted some documents related to the outbreak, the Committee has not received all of the documents to fulfill its request from last fall. If FDA does not meet the letter’s deadline of February 25, the Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a business meeting to approve a subpoena.
The letter was signed by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), Congressman Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX), and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).
On Thursday, the White House re-nominated Marilyn Tavenner to serve as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Tavenner has served as Acting Administrator of CMS since Don Berwick left the post in 2011. CMS has not had a permanent Administrator confirmed through the hearing process in seven years, instead being run by a series of Acting Administrators, including Berwick who was given the position via recess appointment in 2010. Although Tavenner is expected to be confirmed with little objection, Republicans are likely to push for a full hearing process regarding the nomination.