The War on Drug (Prices)

Prescription medications are one of the most common forms of health care intervention, with approximately sixty-six percent (66%) of adults in the United States using prescription drugs. Prescription drugs can provide major benefits to an individual as well as the general population’s health; if successful, prescription drugs can lead to longer and higher-quality lives. However, as drug prices rise unnecessarily, nearly a fourth of American patients experience difficulty affording their medications. A majority of these patients are people with lower incomes and those who are nearing Medicare age.

The United States has higher drug prices than all other developed nations, where in 2010 the average post-rebate medication price was fifteen percent (15%) higher in the United States than in Canada, France, and Germany.  Domestic drug companies argue that the price is due to the cost of research and development, however it is the lack of market regulation by the United States government that allows these exorbitant prices. In response to the outcry against high drug prices, on September 13, 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order on Lowering Drug Prices by Putting America First. The Order includes a “most favored nations” pricing scheme that includes both Medicare Parts B and D, meaning that Medicare now is able to refuse to pay more for drugs than other developed nations. However, this is not enough. The United States needs to take action at both the state and federal level to ensure that prescription drugs are accessible and affordable to all Americans.

Running a Restaurant in the Covid Era; So Much Regulation, So Little Guidance. 

Americans miss dining out. In fact, surveys indicate that sitting down in a restaurant is the most missed pastime of the Covid-19 pandemic. As the monotony of homebound living grows and already economically fragile restaurants operate at a diminished capacity, patrons and restaurants alike are flouting regulations to get back to normal. Between the pressure of dwindling stimulus loans and eager customers, regulation must be balanced with economic relief to encourage responsible and sustainable reopening.

Changes in Healthcare Information Regulation: Information Blocking

On November 3, 2020 new rules from the Health and Human Services Department concerning information blocking in healthcare will come into effect. The rules are an implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act (“Act”) which is the latest in the government’s effort to lower costs and allow for greater patient access to electronic health information (“EHI”). The Act aims to prevent covered healthcare providers from restricting the flow of EHI in inappropriate ways. Violations of the new Act may result in considerable civil fines.

Is Self-Regulation in the Modern Era of Gaming Enough? How the ESRB Hopes to Raise Awareness on Loot Boxes, Randomized Items, and other Microtransactions

Earlier this year, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (“ESRB”) assigned a new disclosure for their video game ratings system: “In-Game Purchases (includes Random Items).” The decision stems from public outcry and FTC concerns about gamers, mostly children, being able to easily spend real money for randomized in-game content. But is it enough?

A Cleaner Future for the Shipping Industry

Shipping is the backbone of today’s globalized world and accounts for the carriage of roughly 90% of international trade. Given the sheer number of countries that engage in international shipping, the United Nations created an agency known as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for regulatory oversight purposes. The IMO subsequently created the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), the most significant international agreement dealing with maritime vessel pollution to date. A predominant responsibility of the IMO is to reduce shipping emissions, seeing as the industry accounts for nearly 3% of global CO2 emissions. Likewise, sulfur emissions are unacceptably high, which has compelled the IMO to take unprecedented steps toward reducing the sulfur content in the grade of fuel oil used by maritime vessels.

Amateur Athletics Governance: Tumbling Over Misconduct Reporting

Congress has enhanced government oversight of amateur sports in response to numerous allegations in recent years targeting amateur sports governing bodies’ failures to address physical and mental misconduct. New legislation is expected to make significant reforms by requiring training, reporting, and a new system to manage allegations of of sexual abuse, among other changes.

Chicago Negotiating ComEd Franchise Agreement Amidst Bribery Investigation

The current franchise agreement between the City of Chicago and Commonwealth Edison (“ComEd”) was signed in 1992 by Mayor Daley and is set to expire at end of 2020. Since 1990, ComEd has generated approximately $60.7 billion in revenue in Chicago alone. In July 2020, Chicago officials announced the results of a feasibility study regarding a potential municipal takeover of ComEd’s electric utility infrastructure. In the same month, ComEd executives admitted to having orchestrated an eight-year bribery scheme where they made payments to Public Official A, later revealed as Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, in return for political favors.  

Compliance Spotlight: Lucas Nelson, Medpharm

Lucas Nelson is the General Manager at Medpharm. Medpharm is a vertically integrated cannabis operator based out of Des Moines, Iowa. Medpharm holds two of Iowa’s five dispensary licenses and is the only licensed cultivator. They are one of only two dispensaries currently operating in the state. Mr. Nelson holds a Juris Doctor from Indiana University Maurer School of Law and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from James Madison University. 

#WFH – Fad or the Future?

There seems to be no end in sight to the various concerns associated with COVID-19, and experts are hesitant to say when and if life as we knew it will ever return to “normal.” As the pandemic persisted, companies large and small quickly realized that jobs we all assumed had to be done in an office, can in fact be done from the comfort of one’s home. #WFH is a trending social media hashtag standing for “work from home,” and posts using this hashtag range anywhere from how to dress comfortably while remaining professional when working from home to setting up the perfect home office. #WFH, however, is not just a social media trend, but a new normal for many Americans as employers were forced to allow their employees to work from home due to health concerns related to COVID-19. This gives rise to questions such as, what about safety and security concerns related to employer data? And, where do employees draw the line between work and home when working from home? While this may be uncharted territory, top researchers say that #WFH may be the next big thing for companies worldwide.