Could A Netflix-Like Subscription Service Be The Answer To Curbing High Drug Prices?
News outlets report on stories related to pharmaceutical pricing.
A Netflix Model For Hepatitis C: One Price, Unlimited Meds
Two states fighting an escalating hepatitis C crisis will soon pay a flat fee for unlimited drugs — Netflix style — to treat prisoners and low-income residents suffering from the deadly liver disease, with the goal of all but eliminating the infection. Netflix, the popular DVD and video streaming service, charges customers a monthly fee that entitles them to view all the movies they want. Louisiana and Washington state want to do something similar with the expensive medications that provide a cure for hepatitis C. (Ollove, 2/25)
Nonprofit Trying To Upend Drug Costs Will Work With Pharma, Not Against It
A nonprofit founded to address a pressing U.S. health-care problem by manufacturing much-needed drugs that have fallen into short supply, or that are too expensive, will start out with a different approach: buying the drugs from pharmaceutical companies. Civica Rx was launched amid fanfare last year, backed by philanthropic donors and hundreds of hospitals. Fed up with shortages or skyrocketing prices for products like saline solution and epinephrine, Civica said in September that it planned to “directly manufacture generic drugs or sub-contract manufacturing to reputable contract manufacturing organizations.” (Koons, 2/20)
$375,000 Price Leads Disabled Mom To Ration Meds
Bhanu Patel couldn't believe the news. The cost of the medication that allows her to move -- the one that enabled her to walk stairs again -- shot up to $375,000. Fear gripped her: What would this mean for her independence? Would she become a financial burden on her family? How is this possible in the country that's given her so much? The past three years, she said, the medication had been completely free as part of a specialty program. Until recently, the drug was known as 3,4-DAP made by Jacobus Pharmaceutical. But late last year, Catalyst Pharmaceuticals won FDA approval for a slightly modified version of the drug after two small clinical trials and announced an annual list price of $375,000 for the new drug, called Firdapse. (Drash, 2/20)
Two Drugs For Spinal Muscular Atrophy Should Be Priced How Low?
Two medicines designed to treat spinal muscular atrophy, a rare and often fatal genetic disease affecting muscle strength and movement, would have to carry much lower price tags than the manufacturers prefer in order to be considered cost effective, according to an updated analysis. And the estimates are likely to intensify ongoing debate over the cost of new treatments, especially for highly select patient populations. One is a forthcoming gene therapy from Novartis (NVS) that the company has indicated may be priced at $4 million to $5 million. (Silverman, 2/22)
Sanofi, Regeneron Lose U.S. Patent Challenge To Amgen Cholesterol Drug
Biotech company Amgen Inc said on Monday a U.S. jury confirmed the validity of patents on its cholesterol drug Repatha, rejecting a challenge by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc and Sanofi SA. Sanofi and Regeneron had stipulated that if the two Amgen patents were valid, their jointly developed cholesterol drug Praluent infringed them. Amgen Chief Executive Robert Bradway said in a statement that the company was "thankful that the jury weighed the evidence carefully and recognized the validity of Amgen's patents." (2/25)
The Wall Street Journal:
Blackstone Life Sciences And Novartis To Launch Cardiovascular Drug Company
Blackstone Group LP is partnering with Novartis AG to develop drugs to treat blood clots, the first investment by the private-equity firm’s new life-sciences business. The two companies plan to announce Wednesday that they will form a new company called Anthos Therapeutics. Blackstone Life Sciences is contributing $250 million to the venture and will control the company. Anthos will use a Novartis antibody that targets two clotting factors. Novartis will have a minority stake in Anthos. (Gottfried, 2/26)
Did 'Opportunism' Prompt Bigger Price Hikes Following Competition?
After three widely used rheumatoid medicines began facing new competition a decade ago, annual treatment costs for the older drugs rose faster than if the rival medications had not been launched, according to a new analysis, which suggested “opportunism” by manufacturers caused patients and taxpayers to shoulder higher expenses. Here’s the background: Prior to 2009, just three so-called TNF inhibitors —Remicade, Humira, and Enbrel — were used to treat various inflammatory maladies, but the competitive landscape began changing that year when two more medicines were launched — Simponi and Cimzia. By 2013, an intravenous version of Simponi also became available. (Silverman, 2/20)
Ipsen To Buy Clementia Pharmaceuticals In Deal Worth Up To $1.3 Billion
rench healthcare company Ipsen has agreed to buy U.S. peer Clementia Pharmaceuticals in a deal worth up to $1.31 billion, the companies said on Monday, helping to boost Ipsen's portfolio of products treating rare diseases. Ipsen's shares dipped 0.6 percent after the company said the takeover would initially weigh on margins due to the costs of forthcoming trials for Clementia products, but it hoped they would recover later on. (2/25)
The Associated Press:
Bipartisan Bill Targets Prescription Drug Costs In Wisconsin
A bipartisan proposal in the Wisconsin Legislature attempts to lower prescription drug costs and provide more information to consumers about the true cost of their medication. The bill unveiled Tuesday targets middlemen called pharmacy benefit managers. They bargain drug prices on behalf of insurers and employers, manage plans and process claims. (Bauer, 2/26)
Former Novartis Exec Wins $1.5 Million After Claim Of Retaliation
A former Novartis (NVS) employee was awarded nearly $1.5 million in damages over claims that she was fired in retaliation for complaining that a proposed drug study appeared to be a kickback, although the jury agreed that she violated a company policy. Min Amy Guo, who had been executive director of the Health Economics and Outcomes Research Group, objected to a study that would have examined unapproved, or off-label, uses of the Affinitor breast cancer treatment, according to the lawsuit she filed in a New Jersey state court in 2014. (Silverman, 2/26)