‘It’s Alice-In-Wonderland Time In The Drug World’: A Look At Why Brand-Name Drugs Are Pushed Over Generics
News outlets report on stories related to pharmaceutical pricing.
The New York Times:
Generic Drug Prices Are Falling, But Are Consumers Benefiting?
Not all drug prices are going up. Amid the public fury over the escalating costs of brand-name medications, the prices of generic drugs have been falling, raising fears about the profitability of major generic manufacturers. Last week, Teva Pharmaceuticals reported that it had missed analysts’ earnings estimates in the second quarter and planned to lay off 7,000 workers. Its share price plummeted 24 percent in one day as investors worried there was no end in sight. (Ornstein and Thomas, 8/8)
The New York Times:
Take The Generic, Patients Are Told. Until They Are Not.
It’s standard advice for consumers: If you are prescribed a medicine, always ask if there is a cheaper generic. Nathan Taylor, a 3-D animator who lives outside Houston, has tried to do that with all his medications. But when he fills his monthly prescription for Adderall XR to treat his attention-deficit disorder, his insurance company refuses to cover the generic. Instead, he must make a co-payment of $90 a month for the brand-name version. By comparison, he pays $10 or less each month for the five generic medications he also takes. (Ornstein and Thomas, 8/6)
The Wall Street Journal:
Falling U.S. Generic Drug Prices Hurt Manufacturers, Wholesalers
U.S. generic-drug prices are falling at the fastest rate in years, eating into the profits of pharmaceutical wholesalers and manufacturers alike and erasing billions of dollars of their market value in recent days. The three largest U.S. drug wholesalers, which warehouse and distribute some $400 billion of pharmaceuticals annually, have been competing aggressively to win business among independently owned pharmacies, largely by agreeing to cut prices on generics. In turn, the wholesalers are squeezing drugmakers for better prices. (Walker, 8/4)
The Wall Street Journal:
Behind The Push To Keep Higher-Priced EpiPen In Consumers’ Hands
Something strange happened when Alice Bers went to the pharmacy earlier this year to fill her son’s EpiPen prescription: The doctor had prescribed the generic, but it would have cost her more out-of-pocket than the branded version. So the pharmacy asked her son’s doctor for a prescription for the brand-name EpiPen, and her health plan got a bill for $438.53, or $227.52 more than the generic would have cost it. Many EpiPen customers, from a range of different health plans, have wound up getting the more expensive brand. (Rockoff, 8/6)
Is Pharma Hiding 'Dark Money' To Fight An Ohio Measure To Lower Drug Prices?
The skirmish in Ohio over a ballot measure for lowering drug prices took a twist as a consumer advocate filed a complaint with state authorities alleging the pharmaceutical industry is illegally masking “dark money” from individual drug makers that oppose the initiative. Known as the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act, the ballot measure would require state agencies to pay no more for medicines than the Department of Veterans Affairs. The agency currently gets a 24 percent federally mandated discount off average manufacturer prices. Supporters say the measure would save state residents $400 million annually. (Silverman, 8/3)
Who Is Paying To Oppose Issue 2? A Nonprofit Shields Pharma Donors
All $15.8 million donated this year to the campaign against Issue 2 came from "Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue LLC (A wholly-owned subsidiary of PhRMA)." ...Issue 2, which is on Ohio's Nov. 7 ballot, would prevent Ohio from paying more for prescription drugs than the U.S. Veterans Administration pays, such as for Medicaid members. (Balmert, 8/1)
Drug Companies Find Way To Dodge Ohio Campaign Disclosure Rules
Millions in financial contributions from pharmaceutical companies opposing an Ohio ballot proposal to cap prescription drug prices are being shielded from disclosure because they are being funneled through a nonprofit, limited liability company. Watchdogs say the tactic, being used for the first time in an Ohio election, threatens the transparency of campaign contributors in future statewide issue campaigns. (Johnson, 8/2)
Medicare Projects Slight Drop In 2018 Drug Premiums
Medicare projects 2018 base premiums for its Part D drug benefit will be 61 cents cheaper than this year, despite the rising cost of drugs, particularly specialty drugs. It is the first decrease in five years. The base premium will drop from $35.63 to $35.02 as of Jan. 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced last week. (Yochelson, 8/7)
Importing Drugs From Canada Could Save U.S. $6.8 Billion Over A Decade
Acontroversial bill to allow Americans to import prescription drugs from Canada would save the federal government more than $6.8 billion over the next 10 years, according to a preliminary estimate by the Congressional Budget Office. The initial findings may further debate over whether importing medicines from Canada and certain other countries can be safely done. The pharmaceutical industry and former Food and Drug Administration commissioners, among others, argue this would expose Americans to counterfeits. (Silverman, 8/1)
Minnesota Public Radio:
Why Are Drug Prices So High? And What Can Be Done?
MPR News host Kerri Miller talked with two experts on the high cost of drugs in the U.S.: Dr. Kavita Patel, a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Leigh Purvis, director of Health Services Research at the AARP Public Policy Institute. (Miller and Shockman, 8/7)
The Financial Barrier To Developing Antibiotics? No Big Payday For Drug Companies
As current antibiotics begin to lose their punch, there’s an economic reality putting a damper on development. Since every use of an antibiotic drives resistance, and doctors are reluctant to use a drug until there's no alternative, why would a drug company spend a fortune? (Solman and O'Brian, 8/3)
Is The FDA Telegraphing A Rejection For PTC Therapeutics' DMD Drug?
The FDA’s once-raging internal debate over Sarepta Therapeutics has cooled, but a recently unearthed document might portend failure for the next company angling to win an approval in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. PTC Therapeutics is seeking approval for its treatment, ataluren, despite the drug’s repeated clinical failures and the FDA’s 2016 refusal to even consider the drug. Approval would seem unlikely, and it looks to be even more of a reach in light of a memo written by Dr. John Jenkins, an FDA official, back in the heat of the Sarepta saga. (Garde, 8/1)