Push to lift Medicare ban on obesity drugs garners attention at RNC

A prominent pharmaceutical company sponsored an obesity-focused panel Wednesday at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland as part of an effort to push legislators to enact a bill that would lift the longstanding ban on Medicare coverage of obesity medication, according to STAT.

Novo Nordisk cosponsored the "Rethink Obesity" panel at the RNC and plans to cohost a similar discussion at the Democratic National Convention next week in Philadelphia. The bipartisan "Treat and Reduce Obesity Act" is currently pending in Congress.

"That kind of blanket exclusion is unscientific and counterproductive,” said Scott Kahan, MD, a physician at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University and director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness, according to the report. "As a policy standard, it's really silly, for the lack of a better word."

In addition to Novo Nordisk, which manufactures an expensive obesity medication, other sponsors of the panel included patient advocates and physicians. The audience, 50 strong, consisted of mostly congressional staff and policy advocates, according to STAT.

Deborah Horn, DO, medical director of the Galveston-based University of Texas Center of Obesity Medicine, pointed out that society is much more sympathetic toward cancer patients or people with HIV, for example, even though obesity affects millions more Americans each year and can produce life-threatening health consequences, according to the report. "In policy, how do we get the same level of compassion and support in obesity?" said Dr. Horn.

More articles on supply chain:
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Patients expect discounts for soaring drug costs: 3 things to know
Brexit's threat to the drug industry doesn't scare Novartis

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