Perspectives: Drug Prices Are Meaningless — And That’s The Problem
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
Los Angeles Times:
Big Pharma Really, Really Doesn't Want You To Know The True Value Of Its Drugs
The latest poster child for cruel and inhuman drug pricing is Kaleo Pharma, maker of an emergency injector for a med called naloxone, which is used as an antidote to save the lives of people who overdose on painkillers. As America’s opioid crisis reaches epidemic levels, Kaleo has jacked up the list price for its Evzio auto-injector by 600%, soaring from $690 several years ago to $4,500, according to lawmakers. (David Lazarus, 2/17)
The Wall Street Journal:
How Other Countries Freeload On U.S. Drug Research
President Trump says American companies have been getting “systematically ripped off” by foreign governments and firms. He’s right. Yet he has backed a proposal that would make the problem even worse—permitting Americans to buy prescription drugs from overseas retailers, a practice known as importation. This policy wouldn’t help American consumers much, but it would gut American pharmaceutical companies. The negotiator-in-chief should instead use his skills to open foreign markets for American firms. (Peter Pitts, 2/21)
Allowing Medicare To Directly Negotiate Drug Prices Will Hurt Seniors’ Access To New Drugs
President Trump's recent attack on pharmaceutical companies as "getting away with murder" is the stuff of headlines. He also commented that the federal Medicare program could save billions of dollars if the program negotiated prices directly with pharmaceutical companies. But lawmakers and the public should understand what direct Medicare drug price negotiations might mean for seniors' access to needed treatments. (Rafael Fonseca, 2/17)
Donald Trump & Prescription Drug Costs: Harder To Lower Than They Seem
Keeping track of Donald Trump’s shifting policy positions could make even the most balanced of observers dizzy. Take, for example, the president’s position on prescription-drug prices. Candidate Trump garnered bipartisan plaudits by criticizing the pharmaceutical industry for the high cost of prescription drugs. Shortly after becoming president, he reached out to Democrats such as Representative Elijah Cummings with a promise to lower drug costs. But not long after that, he met with drug company CEOs and backed away from that promise. (Michael Tanner, 2/15)
Can Employers Take A Bigger Role In Controlling Drug Costs?
An estimated 150 million Americans receive insurance through their employer — and employees and employers alike continue to suffer from “sticker shock” for prices for new drugs, despite several years of debate and threatened congressional action to control the high prices of pharmaceutical products. While considerable attention has been paid to potential actions by Medicare or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there has been less focus on the role of private payers to solve the issue. Employers sponsoring health benefits are not bound by the same statutory constraints that apply to Medicare and can decide with fewer restrictions what is covered and how much of the cost employees pay for each service. However, employers are sensitive to making changes to health benefits that could interfere with employee recruitment and this article will discuss employers’ options to address high drug prices more aggressively in that context. (Rober Galvin and Troyen Brennan, 2/17)
Albany Times Union:
Why We Get Frustrated With Prescription Drug Prices!
This weekend as I was thumbing through some items in the pharmacy, I came across the manufacturers information on the reintroduction of Auvi-Q to the market. Auvi-Q is a autoinjector of epinephrine which is more publicly known as Epi-Pen. The drug is made by Kaleo who you might remember as they recently made news with their new product for narcan for drug overdose know as Evzio. Evzio as was noted in this interview by Asa Stackel at WNYT 13, comes in at a price of $4,920 per unit which significantly more expensive than other naloxone products which are in the $100 range on average. As a reminder the Evzio was about $690, came off the market and then back on at $4,920. Well history is repeating itself…..Auvi-Q, which last time we dispensed it was about $465 in early 2016 is back on the market at $4,200. Yes, a ten fold increase! (New York Assemblyman John T. McDonald, 2/20)
Alexion Needs New Bets
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. is the latest in a long line of biopharma dealmakers to wish for a time machine. Its $8.4 billion acquisition of Synageva in 2015 was meant to help resolve its dependence on its leading rare-disease drug Soliris. It's not working. (Max Nisen, 2/16)
The Motley Fool:
Thanks, Martin Shkreli, For The Dumbest Advice Ever On Drug Pricing
Martin Shkreli is the epitome of everything the American consumer loves to hate. Shkreli, formerly the CEO of privately held Turing Pharmaceuticals, found himself in the spotlight in Sept. 2015 after his company acquired the rights to Daraprim, a life-saving, infection-fighting drug for AIDS and cancer patients. Despite not changing the formulation of Daraprim (which happened to be more than six decades old), or altering its manufacturing process one iota, Shkreli raised its per-pill price from $13.50 to $750 overnight, a nearly 5,500% increase. (Sean Williams, 2/17)