Perspectives: Despite Its Inefficiencies, FDA’s Voucher Program For Drugs Should Be Called A Success
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
The Wall Street Journal:
Medical Miracles From FDA Inefficiency
You’ve probably never heard of biallelic RPE65 mutation—and count yourself lucky. It’s a genetic defect that causes a form of retinal dystrophy. People born with it gradually lose their vision, often while still children, until they go totally blind. But they are now fortunate: In December the Food and Drug Administration approved a new gene therapy called Luxturna that corrects the mutation and reverses the course of the disease. ... The disease is very rare, afflicting only a few thousand Americans—and therein lies our tale. Spark Therapeutics , which developed Luxturna, charges $850,000 for a course. Even at that high price, a drug with such a small market might not have been economical to develop as recently as a decade ago. This medical miracle was helped along by a federal law enacted in 2007 with bipartisan support—a rare governmental success, for which economist David Ridley deserves much of the credit. (Allysia Finley, 1/26)
Healthcare Needs A Drug Manufacturer Steeped In The Industry's Mission
Hospitals have long been bedeviled by shortages and price spikes for the generic drugs that are essential to their day-to-day operations. Earlier this month, a coalition of U.S. hospital systems launched a business venture that offers the most promising approach yet for solving these twin problems. Intermountain Healthcare, Ascension, SSM Health and Trinity Health formed a not-for-profit company that by the end of 2019 plans to begin producing affordable generics that are chronically in short supply. Critical commodities like injectable antibiotics and sodium bicarbonate are likely first targets. (Merrill Goozner, 1/27)
Should The Federal Government Negotiate Drug Prices?
One perennial proposal to reduce health care costs has been to have the federal government negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical manufacturers. Various types of negotiation proposals have emerged over the years, from both Democrats and Republicans (but more often Democrats) and covering various portions of the health care sector, ranging from federal purchases to Medicare to the entire nation’s pharmaceutical use. (Robert Book, 1/24)
Abbvie's Roll May Not Survive Post-Humira World
An exceptionally low tax forecast and the strength of its flagship inflammation medicine Humira helped AbbVie Inc. produce a 2018 forecast on Friday bullish enough to send its shares into the stratosphere. The firm expects 2018 sales to approach $32 billion and its effective tax rate to be just 9 percent. Humira is an extraordinarily successful medicine that is now even more profitable. (Max Nisen, 1/26)
Chasing Biotech Buyouts? Beware!
Fans of biotech stocks have certainly gotten a boost from the string of big-dollar deals by big drug makers. Earlier today, Sanofi announced the $4.8 billion purchase of Belgian biotech Ablynx, marking the French pharmaceutical giant’s second deal this month, following its $11 billion acquisition of the hemophilia drug maker Bioverativ. Although it is a far smaller deal, it has added to the belief that 2018 will be a big year for deal making as large, cash-rich companies look to juice their pipelines and offset sales pressure on older medications. (Johanna Bennett, 1/29)
Sanofi-Ablynx Deal: Novo Nordisk Is Behind The Times
If Novo Nordisk A/S is bargain-hunting, its timing is bad. Sanofi on Monday said it would pay $4.8 billion to buy Belgian biotech Ablynx NV, outbidding Novo Nordisk so badly that the Danish pharma giant scrapped plans to raise a lowball $3.1 billion initial bid and conceded defeat. (Max Nisen, 1/29)