A Pill To Knock Out Hookworm Costs 10,000 Times More In U.S. Than In Tanzania
News outlets report on stories related to pharmaceutical pricing.
Why A Pill That's 4 Cents In Tanzania Costs Up To $400 In The U.S.
Two pills to wipe out hookworm could cost you 4 cents. Or $400. It just depends where you live. The 4 cents is in Tanzania. That'll cover the two pills it takes to knock out the intestinal parasite. But in the United States, where hookworm has re-emerged, the price for two 200 mg tablets of albendazole can cost as much as $400. (Whitehead, 12/11)
FDA To Study Deputizing Consumers To Find Bad Ads, As Warnings To Pharma Plunge
Concerned about the veracity of some pharmaceutical marketing, the Food and Drug Administration plans to study the extent to which doctors and consumers can detect deceptive ads. In explaining its rationale, the agency reiterated ongoing worries that misleading advertising can generate unnecessary prescribing, but also indicated interest in finding new ways to identify troubling ads, since resources are tight, according to this notice. (Silverman, 12/12)
Three More Drug Makers Allegedly Used Nurses To Promote Medicines
Three more drug makers allegedly relied on schemes in which nurses were used to illegally promote its diabetes medicines to physicians, according to recently unsealed lawsuits. The documents describe how Gilead Sciences (GILD), Amgen (AMGN), and Bayer Pharmaceuticals (BAYRY) hired nurses to talk up treatments to doctors and their patients, an arrangement that purportedly violated federal kickback laws. The companies avoided concerns that sales reps might get little to no face time with doctors and simultaneously helped save physicians from the expense of providing follow-up care, according to the lawsuit. The approach is sometimes known as “white coat marketing,” which the lawsuit noted is considered problematic by authorities because it may blur trust between doctors and patients. (Silverman, 12/11)
How Alex Azar Could Try To Shake Up Drug Prices Through Medicare Part B
Alex Azar might have big plans to overhaul how Medicare pays for drugs. At a congressional hearing at the end of November, the nominee to be secretary of Health and Human Services wondered aloud about how to modify a government health insurance program that helps tens of millions of Americans over the age of 65 pay for medicines. Such changes might impact the price of the drugs across the board. (Swetlitz, 12/12)
Merck Raises Stakes In Lung Cancer As Rivals Close In
Merck & Co Inc, maker of the only immunotherapy approved for patients newly-diagnosed with the most common type of lung cancer, could solidify its lead by playing the long game, even as rivals edge closer. Shares of Merck have fallen 10 percent since the drugmaker several weeks ago said it would make survival a main goal of a key lung cancer trial for immunotherapy Keytruda, extending the study by up to a year. (Beasley, 12/11)
Some Drug Makers Are Considered Good Corporate Citizens
Seeking to remake corporate America, a nonprofit has released a ranking of the largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. It is based on issues that its own polling finds are important to the public, such as worker pay and treatment, customer respect, and product quality, among many other things. And while drug makers did not rate in the very highest positions, seven of these companies did fall within the Top 100, starting with Eli Lilly (LLY) at number 28. The others are Biogen (BIIB), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Celgene (CELG), Merck (MRK), and AbbVie (ABBV). All totaled, 1,000 companies were ranked, and 42 drug companies made the list. (Silverman, 12/12)
Detroit Free Press:
New Generic Viagra Is Here, Cutting Pharmacy Bills For Michigan Men In Search Of Erections
America's favorite little blue pill has gotten a fairly big price tag over the past 19 years. Now the costs of drugs like Viagra for treating male erectile dysfunction are finally coming down. Pfizer, the maker of Viagra, on Monday introduced the first official generic version of its blockbuster impotence pill. The drug costs $30 to $35 per pill, about half the price of brand-name Viagra. Generic maker Teva Pharmaceuticals can also introduce its own Viagra generic beginning this week, although the company hasn't announced whether it will. (Reindl, 12/11)
Wall Street Loves Sage's Experimental Antidepressant. Will Patients?
Although Sage Therapeutics’ (SAGE) experimental antidepressant has been great for its stock price — it soared 70 percent on Thursday after the company announced mostly positive results from a Phase 2 clinical trial of the compound it calls Sage-217, and kept climbing on Friday — the jury is very much out on whether it will ever be good for patients suffering from major depression. (Begley, 12/8)
The Associated Press:
Philippines Wants Money Back From Sanofi For Dengue Vaccine
The Philippine government will demand a refund of 3.5 billion pesos ($69.5 million) from vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur and look at possible legal action after a study showed the vaccine used in a dengue immunization program could expose some people to severe illness, the health chief said Friday. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the government will also seek compensation for treatment of children who may develop severe dengue. No deaths have been confirmed, but at least one immunized child has developed dengue. (Gomez, 12/8)
Opioid Maker Tries To Kick Dependence On $36,000 Autoimmune Drug
Three years of gains in a key earnings gauge are being overshadowed by weak prices for generic drugs and doubts about Acthar, Mallinckrodt’s $36,000-a-vial prescription drug for autoimmune and rare diseases that accounts for more than a third of sales. Multiple government probes of opioid makers including Mallinckrodt have added to the unease, leaving some of the company’s $5.7 billion of junk-rated debt hovering below 82 cents on the dollar and the shares down more than 55 percent this year. (McNeely, 12/5)