Anthem Strikes Deal With Gilead For Hepatitis C Drug
The insurance company says it will use Gildead's Harvoni, a recently approved medication, as its primary treatment of the liver disease. Also in the news, some Medicare beneficiaries using an Aetna prescription drug plan run into trouble getting their medicines and a new study examines the drug approval procedure.
CORRECTION: This file has been updated to correct the headline. The insurer Anthem has made the deal with Gilead, not Aetna.
Anthem Selects Gilead As Primary Supplier Of Hep C Drugs
Health insurer Anthem Inc on Thursday said it reached a deal under which Gilead Sciences Inc's hepatitis C drug Harvoni will be the primary treatment for patients infected with the most common strain of the liver-destroying virus. Anthem said the deal effectively lowers its hepatitis C treatment costs. "We were able to achieve a very competitive rate and a freeze on retail pricing for 2015," the insurer said in an emailed statement. "That does favorably impact plan costs for 2015." Gilead has come under fire for the high cost of Harvoni, as well as predecessor drug Sovaldi, which was launched in late 2013 at a price of $1,000 per pill. Harvoni has a list price of $94,500 for 12 weeks of treatment, or $1,125 per daily pill. (Beasley, 1/8)
The Chicago Tribune:
Aetna Mistake Could Complicate Some Part D Drug Refills
Some seniors who enrolled in Medicare Part D plans with Aetna or its subsidiary Coventry Health Care could be in for a surprise when they try to fill their prescriptions this year. During the most-recent enrollment period, Aetna identified some pharmacies as network members that actually are not, and as a result, some people couldn't fill prescriptions at their usual pharmacy, the National Community Pharmacists Association said Thursday. (Hirst, 1/8)
Report Finds Industry Ties Don’t Skew Drug Approval Recommendations
The Food and Drug Administration has been criticized in the past for relying on advisory committees stacked with members who have ties to the pharmaceutical industry. But a study released Thursday found that advisory committee members with financial conflicts of interest are no more likely to recommend a drug’s approval than those without those conflicts – and suggests that legislative attempts to limit panelists with industry ties could have a damaging effect on the drug approval process. (Gustin, 1/8)