These One-Dose Treatments Could Replace Lifetime Of Costly Drugs. But No One Knows How Much To Charge For Them.
News outlets report on stories related to pharmaceutical pricing.
Gene Therapy Was Hailed As A Revolution. Then Came The Bill.
Dozens of revolutionary gene therapies that mend faulty strands of DNA are on their way, bringing the power to eliminate lethal childhood diseases, rare blood disorders and other severe illnesses. Beneath the excitement about these potential cures lies an important catch: No one knows how much to charge for them. The new therapies aim to fix the root causes of disease with a single dose, in which the correct genetic material is introduced into the patient’s cells. If the treatments can replace a lifetime of conventional costly drugs, they may slash overall spending, even at multimillion-dollar prices. Yet the prospect of high costs is already stirring pushback. (Paton, 4/7)
The Wall Street Journal:
Plan To End Drug Rebates Adds Protections For Insurers
The Trump administration said the federal government would offer a risk-sharing system to reimburse health insurers for financial losses resulting from a proposed ban on certain pharmaceutical-industry rebates in Medicare. The backstop on most of insurers’ losses could help prevent premiums from rising significantly as a result of the rebate-rule changes, while making taxpayers responsible for a greater share of cost overruns in Medicare’s prescription-drug program. (Armour and Walker, 4/5)
Advocates Say A Commerce Dept. Report Would Preclude Reclaiming Patents
Nearly a dozen advocacy groups have complained to Congress that a recent Department of Commerce draft report that offered ways to modernize technology transfer and innovation would limit the ability of the federal government to curb “excessive” prescription drug prices. The 135-page report, which was issued last December by the department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, broadly addresses innovation and proposes various suggestions for maximizing returns on taxpayer investment in R&D. (Silverman, 4/5)
TV Biz Fights Trump Drug Pricing Rule
Broadcasting and advertising groups are adding a powerful voice to the fight against a controversial Trump administration proposal that would require drug companies to share prices in their commercials. Critics worry the new rules could discourage Big Pharma from advertising on air, costing the nation’s advertisers and television stations an important source of revenue. (Gangitano, 4/9)
Would Requiring Prices In Pharmaceutical Ads Make Drugs Cheaper?
The Trump administration is expected to finalize a new rule soon that would require drug makers to include list prices in their TV ads for prescription drugs. The idea is that such transparency will lead to more competition and ultimately to lower cost for consumers. (Uhler, 4/9)
A Troubled Drug Maker Attempts To Compensate For Its Problems By Taking Huge Price Hikes
Beset by a failed merger, mounting losses, and manufacturing headaches, Akorn (AKRX) last month sought to compensate for its many woes by taking a round of steep price hikes on many of its drugs. The beleaguered drug maker, which sells mostly generics, raised list prices on no fewer than a dozen medicines by 19.4 % to 285 %, with the largest increase for Lidocaine HCI gel, a product used for preventing and treating pain that now costs $56.56 for a month’s supply, according to Wells Fargo analyst David Maris. (Silverman, 4/9)
A Growing Number Of States Are Eyeing Laws To Prohibit A Controversial Cost-Sharing Tool
Over the past 10 days, Virginia and West Virginia became the first states in the U.S. to adopt laws that preclude certain health plans from using copay accumulators, a new weapon against widely used but controversial copay assistance cards that drug makers distribute to consumers. The laws, which cover individual and small market plans, come as a growing number of health plans and employers embrace accumulators to blunt rising drug costs. About 30% of employers have adopted them and another 21% are considering doing so over the next couple of years, according to the National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit. (Silverman, 4/4)
Why Does Medicine Cost So Much? Here's How Drug Prices Are Set
From 2007 to 2016, Mylan raised the list price of its EpiPen about 500%, from just under $100 to more than $600. From 2002 to 2013, insulin prices more than tripled. From 2012 to 2019, the average price of AbbVie’s rheumatoid-arthritis drug Humira climbed from $19,000 a year to $60,000 a year—and that’s after rebates. These are dramatic examples of a systemwide problem: prices for brand-name drugs are rising at a rate that far outstrips inflation. (Entis, 4/9)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Gov. Tony Evers Wants Prescription Drug Price Information Disclosed
Like most prices in health care, what health plans pay for prescription drugs is cloaked in secrecy. Gov. Tony Evers wants those prices to be at least a bit less secret. One of the two proposals in his budget to help control the price of prescription drugs would require manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers who manage prescription drug benefits for health plans, health insurers and hospitals to give the state information on what they pay for prescription drugs. (Boulton, 4/9)
Audentes Therapeutics To Develop Gene Therapies For Two Types Of Muscular Dystrophy, Including Duchenne
Audentes Therapeutics, a developer of experimental gene therapies, will announce Monday that it aims to create new treatments for two forms of muscular dystrophy: Duchenne muscular dystrophy and myotonic muscular dystrophy. Duchenne, in particular, is one of the most competitive areas in the hot new field of gene therapy, which uses viruses to embed new genes in the cells of sick patients. (Herper, 4/8)
Regeneron To Invest $800 Million In Alnylam, Betting On Drug-Making Technique Enabled By A Nobel-Winning Discovery
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said Monday it will pay $800 million to Alnylam, a biotechnology firm in Cambridge, Mass., to leverage its gene-silencing technique for the development of new therapies and to become its exclusive partner for new drugs focused on the central nervous system or the eye. “It’s about the future, and it’s about synergies,” George Yancopoulos, Regeneron’s chief scientific officer and co-founder, said in an interview. “We’re not going to be making the standard deals where companies are just hoping to acquire an asset. We’re going to do the opposite. We’re looking for people with which we can do greater things together.” (Herper, 4/8)