Drug Pricing: How The International Index Could Impact U.S. Consumers; Medicare Part D’s Role In Debate
A weekly round-up of stories related to pharmaceutical development and pricing.
Drug Prices In America Are Much Higher Than They Are In Other Countries
Americans would save a boatload if we paid the same prices as other wealthy countries pay for prescription drugs, a new analysis from the House Ways & Means Committee confirms. (Owens, 9/24)
How An 'International Price Index' Might Help Reduce Drug Prices
In gridlocked Washington, both Democrats and Republicans have signaled there's potential for a deal when it comes to lowering prescription drug prices. Now, there's an idea both Congressional Democrats and the White House seem to like: They want to base U.S. prices on something called an international price index. "The basic idea is to peg what the United States pays for a particular drug to the price paid in some set of other countries," says Rachel Sachs, an associate professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis who specializes in drug pricing policy. "There are many different ways to identify other countries, and there are many different ways in which that international reference price could be used to negotiate for a price here." (Simmons-Duffin, 9/19)
Big Pharma Invests Millions As Congress Readies Drug Pricing Bills
As millions of Americans skip their medication due to the ballooning high prescription costs, Congress is seeking ways to cap drug pricing. The legislative effort, however, touched a nerve in the deep-pocketed pharmaceutical industry. Big Pharma’s largest trade group, along with its front groups and conservative organizations that receive funding from the industry, pushed back with millions of dollars of spending. (Yu, 9/25)
This Is What Medicare Part D Has Done To Prescription Costs
If you’re on Medicare, you’re probably already familiar with Part D, the prescription drug benefit plan. But you may not know exactly how the optional program — which has been available to seniors since 2006 — has affected drug prices. (Konish, 9/23)
After Shingles Standout, Glaxo Hunts For The Next Big Vaccines
GlaxoSmithKline Plc is taking aim at a virus that causes serious lung infections and kills tens of thousands of children each year, hoping to replicate the success of its last blockbuster vaccine. Experimental shots targeting respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, are the top pipeline priority for Glaxo’s vaccines unit, Emmanuel Hanon, its research and development head, said in an interview. Glaxo plans to move those vaccines into the final stage of testing by the end of 2020, he said. (Paton, 9/26)
First It Was Aspirin, Then Xarelto. What's Bayer's Next Big Thing?
Originally, aspirin might have come from a bitter-tasting extract of the willow tree — but since 1899, it’s come from the German pharmaceutical and chemical company Bayer (BAYRY). That kind of household-name status is hard to beat, but the company has kept on developing drugs, including the wildly successful blood thinner Xarelto. STAT caught up with Dr. Joerg Moeller, Bayer’s head of global research and development for pharmaceuticals, when he was in Boston to help set up a new lung-disease research collaboration with Brigham and Women’s and Massachusetts General hospitals. (Boodman, 9/25)
Why Millions Of Senior Citizens Can't Get Needed Medications
Senior citizens who try to fill prescriptions have them rejected at the pharmacy counter millions of times each year because their doctors either don’t, or are unable to, check whether a patient’s Medicare plan covers a particular drug. That’s the upshot of a new report from a federal watchdog that examines the difficulty Medicare beneficiaries face in getting medications. (Tozzi, 9/19)