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A federal judge has ordered Martin Shkreli to return $64.6 million in profits reaped from inflating the price of a lifesaving drug and barred him from the pharmaceutical industry for the rest of his life. The ruling Friday by a federal judge in New York came several weeks after a bench trial in December. The Federal Trade Commission and seven states brought the case in 2020 against the man dubbed “Pharma Bro.” The states are New York, California, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Shkreli’s lawyer did not immediately comment. Shkreli has defended raising the price of Daraprim as capitalism at work.

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Insurers and employers are taking a renewed interest in programs that help people deal with chronic _ and potentially expensive _ health problems. They are identifying patients with diabetes or high blood pressure and connecting them with care managers who can answer questions about their medicines or help them change their diets. Some plans also are waiving or reducing fees for care or supplies like insulin pumps. They also are capping insulin costs to encourage people to get regular care now so they don’t need an expensive hospital stay later because their condition has gone untreated and grown worse.

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Shares of Biogen have tumbled a day after regulators slapped strict limitations on coverage the drugmaker’s new Alzheimer’s disease treatment. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Tuesday that patients taking Biogen’s Aduhelm will have to participate in clinical trials to assess the drug’s effectiveness in order for Medicare to cover the cost. That’s an important caveat because Medicare is expected to cover most of the patients who opt for Aduhelm, and the drug can cost as much as $28,000 annually, not counting expenses for brain scans and other care patients will need while taking it.  

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California Democrats have taken their first step toward creating a universal health care system. A legislative committee in the state Assembly advanced a bill on Tuesday that would replace California's private insurance market with a plan paid for by the government. But the proposal is still a long way from becoming law. It faces strong opposition from the state's powerful business interests. And even if it becomes law, voters will have to approve a massive income tax increase to pay for it. Still, Democrats hailed the vote for jumpstarting one of their long-stalled policy goals.

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Medicare says it will limit coverage of a $28,000-a-year Alzheimer’s drug whose benefits have been widely questioned. Tuesday's decision from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is a major development in the nation’s tug-of-war over the fair value of new medicines that offer tantalizing possibilities but come with prohibitive prices. It means that for Medicare to pay, patients taking Biogen’s Aduhelm medication will have to be part of clinical trials to assess the drug’s effectiveness in slowing the progression of dementia. Biogen said Tuesday that it disagrees with the Medicare decision.