Report: AbbVie Raised Prices, Then Funded Ads Attacking Drug-Cost Legislation
Read about the biggest pharmaceutical developments and pricing stories from the past week in KHN's Prescription Drug Watch roundup.
Pharma Giant AbbVie Funds Ads Attacking Prescription Drug Bill — After Hiking Prices Up To 470%
Pharmaceutical giant AbbVie inflated prices for widely-used drugs while its executives pocketed growing bonuses, according to a new report from the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Now it's helping fund ads attacking legislation that would lower prescription drug costs. The committee's two-year investigation found that AbbVie "pursued a variety of tactics to increase drug sales while raising prices for Americans, including exploiting the patent system to extend its market monopoly, abusing orphan drug protections to further block competition, and engaging in anticompetitive pricing practices." (Derysh, 5/26)
FTC Issues Report On 'Rebate Walls,' But Will The Agency Dig Deeper?
In response to Congressional concerns over prescription drug pricing, the Federal Trade Commission released a brief report that suggested the agency is poised to further investigate a controversial contracting practice known as a rebate wall. The term refers to arrangements between drug makers and pharmacy benefits managers over placement of medicines on formularies, or coverage lists used by health plans. By offering a higher rebate to a PBM for a medicine, but especially for a bundle of medicines, a drug maker can wall off rivals from gaining favorable formulary placement. (Silverman, 6/1)
Wisconsin State Journal:
Prescription Drug Cost Proposals Could Soon Reappear In Wisconsin
A copay cap on insulin, importation of prescription drugs from Canada and required reporting of drug price increases are among drug affordability measures stripped from Gov. Tony Evers’ budget that could appear as bills before or after the Legislature approves the state spending plan, likely in June or July. But while prescription drug expenses — especially on pricey specialty drugs for conditions such as cancer, hepatitis and rheumatoid arthritis — have been generating more attention from state and federal policymakers, curbing costs in the nation’s complex medication system has proven to be politically challenging. Drug costs make up about 10% to 15% of the country’s $3.8 trillion in annual health care spending, which accounts for nearly 18% of the economy. (Wahlberg, 5/31)
The Center Square:
Pennsylvania Senators Revive Bipartisan Bill Calling For Transparency In Prescription Drug Costs
When he was diagnosed with leukemia a dozen years ago, doctors told Paul O’Hara he would live, as he describes it, “a happy and normal life,” so long as he took the critically important drugs prescribed to him. Then came the sticker shock. In the early days of his diagnosis, O’Hara, a Doylestown resident, grappled with balancing the cost of monthly prescription, which he said were about the same as his mortgage payment. O’Hara eventually faced foreclosure notices and other challenges to take his medications, though his financial struggles have since improved. (Fidlin, 5/31)
Life-Changing Bills For Those With Diabetes Headed To Gov. Abbott’s Desk For Signature
Two bills that will bring some financial relief to those with diabetes that use insulin are headed to the governor’s desk for a signature. If enacted, the bills would lower the cost of prescription insulin starting in September. Rep. James Talarico (D-Round Rock), a former San Antonio educator, knows firsthand what the life-saving medication means for people with diabetes. While on the campaign trail three years ago, he found out he had Type 1 diabetes. (Santos, 5/31)