KHN Morning Briefing

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In Effort To Soothe Public Concerns Over Gouging, J&J To Release Drug Pricing Report

The pharmaceutical company wants to show how much it is spending on research and that its sales growth isn't coming from raising prices on drugs. Meanwhile, an acquisition plan in the biotech world could be a sign of good things to come for the industry.

The Wall Street Journal: Johnson & Johnson To Report Average Increases In List Prices For U.S. Drugs
Johnson & Johnson is planning to issue a report next month outlining how much it has raised the U.S. prices of its prescription drugs, the latest pharmaceutical company effort to address intense public concern about the cost of medicines. The report will give the average increase in the list prices for all company drugs in the U.S., as well as their average price after the discounts given by the company, J&J officials said. (Rockoff, 1/10)

The Wall Street Journal: Drug Deal Is Bet Price Pressures Have Eased
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company announced Monday morning it plans to acquire cancer-focused Ariad Pharmaceuticals for about $4.7 billion in cash. That represents about a 75% premium to Friday’s closing price. The premium by itself is a good sign for small and midsize biotechs—deals like this one will go a long way toward helping biotech stocks rebound from last year’s dismal performance. (Grant, 1/9)

In other pharmaceutical news —

Stat: Memory-Boosting Prevagen Has No Scientific Backing, FTC Says
The Federal Trade Commission and the New York state attorney general Monday filed a complaint against a supplement company that claims its pills can help with age-associated memory loss. The supplement, Prevagen, is heavily advertised, with commercials —  including on national broadcast and cable networks such as CNN, Fox News, and NBC — claiming it can improve memory in 90 days. Ads feature charts depicting dramatic cognitive improvement among users. The FTC says these claims are deceptive. (Swetlitz, 1/9)

Boston Globe: Ariad Pharmaceuticals To Be Acquired By Takeda For $5.2 Billion 
Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. on Monday accepted a $5.2 billion takeover offer from Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceuticals Inc., making the Cambridge company the latest Massachusetts biotech to be gobbled up by a global drug company seeking to strengthen its product line. The 26-year-old Ariad has a blood cancer drug on the market and is seeking US approval for a lung cancer treatment. (Weisman, 1/9)

Stat: A Familiar Face Will Take Over As Acting Commissioner Of FDA
It may be one of the shortest tenures in FDA history. Dr. Robert Califf, who took office as FDA commissioner last February, is preparing to vacate the premises. Like other presidential appointees, Califf must resign effective Jan. 20th, Inauguration Day. In the absence of a new FDA chief, Dr. Stephen Ostroff, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, will again become acting commissioner. It’s a role he’s familiar with; he  also served as acting commissioner from April 2015 to last February, when Califf was sworn in. (Kaplan, 1/9)

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