Perspectives: Pharma’s Slick PR Slogans, Lobbyists Aren’t Succeeding In Shifting Blame Over Prices
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
Big Pharma's Lobbyists Are Losing Despite Their 'Pass The Buck' Campaigns
As policymakers and the administration focus on high drug prices, the brand drugmaker lobby has responded by unleashing millions of dollars in an attempt to shift blame. They’ve blamed price gouging scandals on a “broken system” and claim to want to reform. They bankroll more than 1,400 lobbyists along with many “patient groups” and so-called “experts” to carry these messages to the media outlets and politicians on whom they lavish millions in advertising dollars and campaign contributions. (John Jones, 3/5)
Hold Drug Makers Accountable For Rising Costs
Everyone seems to know someone who’s had to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month for expensive prescription drugs, whether it’s to treat a deadly cancer like leukemia or an autoimmune disease like Multiple sclerosis. Not long ago, American consumers voiced outrage when the drug manufacturer Mylan jacked up the price of its life-saving emergency allergy shot, EpiPen, by 400 percent. That outrage was compounded by a finding in 2017 that Mylan had overcharged Medicaid programs by over a billion dollars, by evading required rebates. Despite widespread public outcry about this and other necessary drugs, we aren’t any closer to knowing why the drugs we rely on cost so much. (Bethany Pray, 3/2)
Pharmaceutical Corporations Need To Stop Free-Riding On Publicly-Funded Research
The White House Council of Economic Advisers recently announced a strategy to curb high drug prices: force “free riding” countries abroad to pay more and watch the prices go down in America. That’s not how it works; lifesaving medicines aren’t more expensive here because they cost less elsewhere. They’re priced out of reach everywhere because pharmaceutical corporations are charging exorbitant prices simply because they can—and the U.S. government lets them. (Jason Cone, 3/3)
Dermira Acne Drug Failure: What Biotech Binary Means
The word "binary" brings to mind a coin flip. But in biotech, the coin is often weighted unfavorably. The latest example is Dermira Inc., which announced Monday that its heavily hyped acne drug had failed two final-stage trials. The drug flopped so thoroughly the company is giving up on it altogether. This is a reminder that the downside of biotech binaries is often bigger than any potential upside. And despite what many sell-side analysts suggest, the downside is in many cases the likelier outcome. (Max Nisen, 3/5)
Drug Transparency Bill Ignores Role Of Insurers
Every month, I visit a Eugene pharmacy to buy insulin for my 11-year-old daughter. She has type 1 diabetes, which means her body no longer makes insulin. Without daily insulin injections, she will die. On an Oregon Bronze Affordable Care Act insurance plan, I pay $274 per vial for insulin that cost $21 in 1996. I worry about the price. Oregonians, like other Americans with diabetes, are now making desperate choices to afford the insulin that keeps them alive. (Julia Boss, 3/6)
Sky High Drug Prices Can Be Controlled. Here's How.
There’s rocket science and then there’s drug pricing. Maybe that’s a stretch, but it’s true that health care is complicated, and one only has to take a look at what drives drug prices to see just how complicated. The process of determining drug prices seems arbitrary and opaque, as evidenced in years past by the sudden and inexplicable increase of common drugs like EpiPens. Unfortunately, when that happens, patients are caught in the middle. (Walker Ray and Tim Norbeck, 2/28)
Valeant Earnings: The 2017 Bill Comes Due
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., long the sick man of the pharma world, actually had a decent 2017. It chipped away at its massive debt pile, pushed some debt obligations into the future, and stabilized parts of its business. But Valeant's 2017 results and 2018 guidance, released Wednesday morning, illustrate we still don't know when its long-promised turnaround will arrive -- or where its bottom will be. (Max Nisen, 2/28)