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Here’s a look back at the trends and topics that shaped patient access this year.

1. “Affordable” Care Empties Americans’ Pockets

What’s the trade-off for affordable monthly health plan premiums? Unmanageable deductibles and sky-high co-pays, many newly insured Americans discovered.

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2. The Waiting Game

Yet another year closes with prescribers and policymakers awaiting final FDA guidance on key issues regarding biological medicines—naming, indication extrapolation, and prescribing information.

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3. What Ails Hepatitis C Patients? Discrimination.

More new direct-acting antiviral treatments for hepatitis C helped drove down the price of a cure. But extensive prior authorization processes still imposed a barrier between hepatitis C patients and the treatment they need.

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4. The Vaccine Debate Goes Viral 

A measles outbreak spurred state legislators to action and ignited a firestorm of national debate about personal liberty, public health and the science behind vaccination.

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5. Value Propositions: What Counts & Who’s Counting

A profit-driven hedge fund manager, a Senate report and still more value models for the treatment of cancer revived questions about the cost—and value—of innovative medicine.

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6. The End of Medical Screening?

First prostate cancer and now COPD. Will government’s low opinion of certain screening practices lead patients to thrown caution to the wind?

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7. Small Patients, Big Gains

Congress noticed the little people this year with several bills dedicated to infant health. But challenges remain for the most fragile – preemies.

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8. Pain Policy that Doesn’t Hurt

State legislatures and federal and private health plans battled over access to innovative formulationsdesigned to reduce opioid misuse.

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