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Pharma’s Money-Back Guarantees Sound Nice, But Experts See Them As A Ploy

News outlets report on stories related to pharmaceutical pricing.

The New York Times: Considering The Side Effects Of Drugmakers’ Money-Back Guarantees
More than a decade ago, Italy tried a novel approach to help bring down drug costs: asking pharmaceutical companies to return money to the national health system if some of their medicines failed to work as expected. The effort largely flopped. The Trump administration is now considering whether to encourage a similar approach. Pharmaceutical executives presented the idea to President Trump at a meeting in January, and the general concept was raised last month in a draft executive order aimed at combating rising drug prices. (Thomas and Ornstein, 7/10)

The Wall Street Journal: The Price Dilemma Over A $16,000 Drug
Novartis AG recently discovered that a drug it sells for a group of very rare diseases could be used to treat a much more common ailment. There is just one problem: its $16,000-per-dose price tag. The drug, called ACZ885, is already sold under the brand name Ilaris for certain rare inflammatory disorders affecting a very small number of people. But a recent clinical trial suggests it could also reduce the risk of serious complications like strokes in people who have suffered a heart attack. (Roland, 7/12)

The New York Times: The Private Equity Firm That Quietly Profits On Top-Selling Drugs
Cashing in on rising drug prices often unleashes an outcry from consumers and politicians. But a little-known private equity investor, Royalty Pharma, has built an unusual investment portfolio valued at $15 billion — it buys up the rights to royalties on future drug sales — while largely avoiding public controversy. By its own count, Royalty Pharma owns partial rights to seven of the 30 top-selling drugs in the United States, including giants like Humira, the arthritis treatment that is the single biggest-selling medication in America. And its deals have been getting larger. (Smith, 7/8)

Stat: A Proposal Would Limit Prices On Meds Developed With Defense Dollars
A U.S. senator is trying to lower prices for medicines that are discovered with taxpayer dollars, and his effort amounts to a new twist to unraveling a complicated controversy that has embroiled the U.S. Department of Defense, large drug makers, numerous lawmakers, and consumer groups. (Silverman, 7/6)

The CT Mirror: Malloy Signs Pharmacy Bill — And A Withering P.S.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed a consumer-protection bill into law Monday, but not before penning an unusual letter reviving his criticism of how the law’s influential sponsors, the top Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate, rebuffed his insurance commissioner’s efforts to shape a bipartisan measure intended to cut the cost of prescription drugs... Senate Bill 445 will outlaw “gag clauses” in pharmacy benefit-manager contracts that now bar pharmacists from telling consumers when they could save money by paying out of pocket for generic drugs that can cost less than the co-pay for a covered brand-name drug. (Pazniokas, 7/10)

Boston Herald: Legislation Aims At Drug Price-Gouging
State lawmakers are waging war against skyrocketing drug prices — backed by powerful patient groups and doctors — with legislation that would pinpoint and investigate the costliest medications from inhalers to diabetes treatments. “It’s about time,” said Dr. Zoe Tseng, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital doctor who has testified in favor of the bill. “Even as doctors, we have no idea if a medication will be covered or if it’ll be reasonably priced. Sometimes it just feels like a game.” (Kalter, 7/12)

Lowell Sun: As Drug Prices Rise, Lawmakers Continue Search For Solutions
Amid efforts at the state level to find a way to control health care costs, prescription drugs have been singled out as one of, if not the, biggest drivers of growth in spending for consumers and businesses. But whether increasing transparency of drug pricing can serve as a catalyst for lower prices, or if the market itself can be trusted to respond to public pressure remains a point of contention. (Murphy, 7/11)

Stat: U.K. Pharma Trade Group Sues Government Over New Drug Cost Test
Drug makers in the United Kingdom have gone to court in hopes of preventing the country’s National Health Service from imposing pricing limits on medicines. The Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry is responding to a move by the government to limit funding for any prescription drug that will cost the NHS more than roughly $25 million in any of the first three years of use. (Silverman, 7/11)

CBS News: What You Can Do To Help Lower Prescription Drug Prices
A new survey suggests some Americans could do more to cut the cost of their prescription drugs. The University of Michigan poll shows 27 percent of people between ages 50 to 80 call the cost of their medications a burden, and only 51 percent say they bring it up with their doctor. But for those who did discuss the issue, 67 percent say their physician recommended a drug that cost less. Thirty-seven percent also got similar recommendations from pharmacists. (7/6)

Stat: FDA Rejects Ocular Therapeutix Eye Drug, Citing Manufacturing Issues
Ocular Therapeutix failed for a second time to secure approval of its eye drug Dextenza. On Tuesday, the FDA rejected the drug, citing unresolved problems with manufacturing and quality control testing. Shares of Ocular were halted at $7.60 in Tuesday’s after-market session. The company has approximately $2 per share in cash on hand. As previously reported by STAT, FDA inspection of Ocular’s manufacturing facility raised concerns about batches of Dextenza contaminated with particulates, including aluminum. (Feuerstein. 7/11)

Stat: Teva Says Former Exec Gave Trade Secrets To Boyfriend — Who Runs Apotex
A former Teva Pharmaceuticals executive allegedly shared a raft of trade secrets with the head of a rival generic drug maker — who happened to be her boyfriend, according to a lawsuit by the Israeli company. Barinder Sandhu, who worked as senior director of regulatory affairs for Teva in New Jersey, made copies of numerous documents that she gave to Jeremy Desai, who heads Apotex, a generic drug maker based in Canada, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court last week in Philadelphia. (Silverman, 7/11)

Stat: Gilead Faces Whistleblower Lawsuit Over Contaminated HIV Drugs — Again
In a setback for Gilead Sciences, a federal appeals court reinstated a whistleblower lawsuit filed by two former employees, who accused the company of misleading regulators about contaminated ingredients used in various HIV medicines and falsifying data to win marketing approval for the drugs. In arguing their case, which was filed in 2011, the former employees alleged Gilead defrauded the government, because the company did not disclose its drugs were defective and, as a result, federal health care programs paid billions of dollars for contaminated medicines/ (Silverman, 7/11)

Stat: FDA Approves First New Sickle Cell Drug In 20 Years
The FDA approved a new medicine Friday to reduce the complications associated with sickle cell disease, a rare blood disorder. The drug, Endari, is made by privately held Emmaus Medical and is the first new treatment for sickle cell disease to secure FDA approval in almost 20 years. However, the active ingredient in Endari — L-glutamine — is an old chemical that can be purchased over the counter, which could complicate Emmaus’s ability to obtain insurance coverage. (Feuerstein, 7/7)

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