Can Feds Do A Better Job Negotiating Drug Prices Than Insurers?
CNN Money examines the pros and cons of the government gaining bargaining power with pharmaceutical companies. In other drug industry news, The Boston Globe reports on biotech firms' adoption of a Hollywood model for developing new medicines while The Associated Press looks into the complicated formulas that drive drug costs.
Here's One Fix For High Drug Prices
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have a seemingly simple way to lower the high cost of drugs in the U.S.: Let Medicare flex its gigantic muscles and negotiate lower prices with drug manufacturers. When Congress overhauled Medicare in 2003 to pay for prescription drugs, lawmakers banned the agency from negotiating with drug companies as a concession to the pharmaceutical industry. Instead, the insurers who cover the roughly 42 million enrollees in Medicare's Part D drug program obtain their own discounts. (Luhby, 9/27)
The Boston Globe:
Pharma Gives Drug Development The Hollywood Treatment
For decades, most new pharmaceuticals were shepherded from early-stage research to consumer sales by one company. But as big drugmakers increasingly cede research to startups, venture capitalists have been stepping in to pull together teams of scientists, senior executives, and supporting managers and staff to work on a single development project. (Weisman, 9/27)
The Associated Press:
Multiple Factors Cause High Prescription Drug Prices In US
From 2008 through 2014, average prices for the most widely used brand-name drugs jumped 128 percent, according to prescription benefit manager Express Scripts Holding Co. In 2014, it estimated that total U.S. prescription drug spending increased 13 percent. Reasons include increasing research costs, insufficient competition and drug shortages. ... While it's clear drug prices are rising, many patients don't understand why. Here are six of the top reasons. (Johnson, 9/25)
In related news on people shaping the pharmaceutical industry, Turing CEO Martin Shkreli is not alone in his controversial practices and the drug companies hire a new lobbyist -
The Washington Post:
The Drug Industry Wants Us To Think Martin Shkreli Is A Rogue CEO. He Isn’t.
This week, a roiling controversy was ignited after Turing Pharmaceuticals chief executive Martin Shkreli hiked the price for his drug Daraprim by a mind-boggling 4,000 percent. The major pharmaceutical and biotech industry groups have portrayed Shkreli's actions as totally repugnant and the work of just one company, acting alone, with a flippant young chief executive who doesn't reflect the broader values, practices, or trends of other companies. But it's not .... while Shkreli's price increase was over-the-top extravagant, the overall trend for other brand name drugs is in the same direction: up. (Johnson, 9/25)
The New York Times:
Drug Companies Hire New Lobbyist To Answer Critics
The drug industry chose a new top lobbyist Friday to help pharmaceutical companies defend themselves against criticism from patients, doctors and government officials who say they are charging exorbitant prices for many medicines. The lobbyist, Stephen J. Ubl, will become president and chief executive of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a trade group that represents companies like Amgen, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer. For the last 10 years, Mr. Ubl has been the top lobbyist for medical device makers. He has led efforts to persuade Congress to repeal a tax on medical devices imposed by the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Ubl, 46, is well known in Washington for his deep knowledge of health policy, shrewd political instincts and low-key manner that sets him apart from many lobbyists. (Pear, 9/25)