KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

High Drug Costs Make Some Cures, Precision Medicine Unaffordable For Many Patients

In other news, Bloomberg reports that Valeant's ailing CEO faces contractual and payout issues if he resigns for medical reasons.

USA Today: Skyrocketing Drug Prices Leave Cures Out Of Reach For Some Patients
Sophisticated drugs are opening the door, scientists say, to an era of "precision medicine." They're also ushering in an age of astronomical prices. Even with insurance, patients might pay thousands of dollars a month out of pocket. But patients aren't the only ones paying. Taxpayers underwrite the cost of prescription drugs provided by Medicare, Medicaid and other public insurance programs. (Szabo, 1/6)

Bloomberg: For Valeant's Ailing Chief Executive, It Wouldn't Pay To Leave
If Michael Pearson leaves Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. now, it would be without a parachute. Two potential payouts would disappear should the drug company’s ailing chief executive resign for medical reasons. At the moment, he appears unlikely to return to work quickly, and on Wednesday the company appointed an interim leader. Pearson’s employment contract states that if he steps down for “good reason,” such as a demotion, he would be entitled to a $9 million cash severance. An exit for medical causes wouldn’t trigger the payout, according to the contract. (Melby and Weinberg, 1/7)

And the Dementia Discovery Fund invests $100 million in a new avenue of Alzheimer’s research —

The Wall Street Journal: Dementia Discovery Fund Chooses Alector For First Investment
A promising new avenue in Alzheimer’s research that focuses on the eradication of brain plaque by the immune system has become the first investment for a $100 million fund dedicated to delivering new dementia drugs within a decade. The Dementia Discovery Fund, set up last year with backing from the U.K. government and several of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, has led a $29.5 million investment round to back research under way at San Francisco-based Alector LLC. (Roland, 1/7)

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