Trump Takes Credit For Declining Drug Prices, But How Accurate Is That Claim?
News outlets report on stories related to pharmaceutical pricing.
Trump Falsely Claims ‘Drug Prices Declined In 2018’
President Trump asserted late Friday that drug prices declined for the first time in nearly 50 years, implying in a tweet that his administration’s efforts to speed generic drugs to market were responsible for that historic feat. But in the context of America’s prescription drug market, the statement is both a non sequitur and demonstrably false. A recent analysis of brand-name drugs by the Associated Press found 96 price increases for every price cut in the first seven months of 2018. (Ross, 1/12)
The Washington Post Fact Checker:
Can Trump Claim Credit For $26 Billion In Savings On Prescription Drugs?
Trump wrote: “During the first 19 months of my Administration, Americans saved $26 Billion on prescription drugs.” He pulled this number from a report issued in October by his Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), which found that “relative annual price growth for prescription drugs has slowed since January 2017.” That means prices are still going up but at a lower rate than before. The report includes a chart with a trend line of expected prices, based on the second half of President Barack Obama’s term. That happened to be a period with sharp spikes in prescription drug prices, especially because of new drugs to deal with hepatitis C. (Kessler, 1/16)
2019 Will Reveal More Answers On Trump's Drug Price Strategy
President Donald Trump started off the new year much like he did in 2018: railing on Twitter about drug companies for raising prices. “Drug makers and companies are not living up to their commitments on pricing. Not being fair to the consumer, or to our Country!” Trump tweeted on Jan. 5. While the president made a much ballyhooed effort last year to combat price hikes, 2019 appears to be bringing more of the same. There were 60 drug companies that rang in the new year by raising prices on more than 300 products, according to multiple reports on an analysis from Rx Savings Solutions, which offers software to health plans to help them find lower drug costs. (King, 1/12)
Drug Companies Greet 2019 With U.S. Price Hikes
Drugmakers kicked off 2019 with price increases in the United States on more than 250 prescription drugs, including the world's top-selling medicine, Humira, although the pace of price hikes was slower than last year. The industry has been under pressure by the U.S. President Donald Trump to hold their prices level as his administration works on plans aimed at lowering the costs of medications for consumers in the world's most expensive pharmaceutical market. (1/15)
Will California Gavin Newsom Drug Pricing Plan Save Money?
Gov. Gavin Newson wants to deliver lower drug prices by harnessing the full weight of the state against the pharmaceutical industry, but it’s unclear whether his team can get a better deal without giving up something Californians want. In his first act as governor, Newsom issued an executive order creating the largest single purchaser of prescription drugs in the country. (Finch, 1/16)
Fragile Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Increases Costs, Compromises Care
The increasing frequency of drug shortages has injected some complexity into how Ochsner Health Systems manages supply scarcities. It has pharmacy experts across the system that are constantly calling wholesalers and suppliers to get a hint of what drug may soon be in short supply. Ochsner has a phone call twice a week with its pharmacy, supply chain, chief nursing and chief operating officers to identify the next problem, said Dr. Robert Hart, executive vice president and chief medical officer for Ochsner Health System. (Kacik, 1/15)
Shifting Part B Drugs To Part D Would Hurt Most Beneficiaries, Analysis Says
One of the many proposals the Trump administration is kicking around in order to lower drug costs would shift coverage of some medicines from Medicare Part B to Part D, which is administered by private managed care plans. A new analysis, however, cautions that while government spending might be reduced, the proposal may also increase out-of-pocket costs for some beneficiaries. (Silverman, 1/15)
Rising Drug Prices Strain Hospitals, Force Budget Cuts, U. Of C. Study Says
Rising costs of prescription drugs have strained hospital budgets and operations, forcing health systems to cut costs by reducing staff, a new study found. Hospital drug spending increased by 18.5 percent between 2015 and 2017, a rate far exceeding medical inflation for the period, according to a report prepared for three health associations by the research group NORC at the University of Chicago. U.S. community hospitals spent an average of $555.40 on prescription drugs for each admitted patient in 2017. (Griffin, 1/15)
Allergan And A Mohawk Tribe Ask The Supreme Court To Review Patent Deal
After being rebuffed by a federal appeals court last summer, Allergan (AGN) and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decide a vexing question that was at the heart of a controversial maneuver to protect a best-selling eye medicine. Their petition has its roots in events that began in the fall of 2017, when the drug maker transferred six patents to its Restasis treatment, which was on track to generate $1.4 billion in sales, to the Mohawk tribe in hopes of thwarting generic competition. At the time, Allergan was facing a conventional patent challenge from several erstwhile generic rivals in a federal court. (Silverman, 1/15)
Lawmakers Want Feds To Look At How A Bristol-Celgene Deal Affects Prices
While investors may have cheered the recent $74 billion bid that Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) made for Celgene (CELG), a pair of Congressional lawmakers want federal authorities to examine the extent to which such a deal may impede competition or cause higher drug prices for Americans. In a letter sent last Friday to the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) expressed concern that the takeover could reduce treatment options for patients by giving Bristol-Myers access to product lines that may either compete with or complement its current portfolio of cancer drugs. (Silverman, 1/14)
Novartis Battles Dutch Health Minister For Raising The Price Of A Cancer Drug
Yet another flare-up over the cost of medicines is playing out in the Netherlands, where the government is angry at Novartis (NVS) for boosting the price of a cancer treatment more than six times — to roughly $26,000 for an infusion — in a convoluted case that has spurred debate about orphan drug status and the ability of local hospitals to make their own lower-cost alternatives. (Silverman, 1/14)
AmerisourceBergen To Cut 15 Percent Of Workers At Troubled Compounding Unit
AmerisourceBergen (ABC), one of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical wholesalers, is eliminating 225 jobs — roughly 15 percent of the entire workforce — at Pharmedium Services, its troubled compounding unit that has concerned regulators and rattled investors. The cuts are being made specifically at a beleaguered Memphis plant, where operations were suspended nearly a year ago and product recalls were issued due to sterile manufacturing issues, all of which followed an inspection by the Food and Drug Administration. (Silverman, 1/15)
Cost Of Opioids, Addiction Drugs Surge In Midst Of Crisis
President Donald Trump has few bigger health care goals than lowering drug prices and tackling the opioid crisis. Pharmaceutical companies might not be listening. Manufacturers not only raised the cost of hundreds of medicines at the beginning of the year, but brand-name opioids and addiction treatments led the pack. (Owermohle, 1/11)
The Herald Dispatch:
WV Lawmakers Advance Bill Aimed At Lowering Prescription Drug Prices
A bill aimed at reducing prescription drug costs in West Virginia passed through the House of Delegates' Health and Human Resources Committee on Tuesday, but it will face the House Judiciary Committee before heading to the floor for a full vote. Sponsored by Del. Mick Bates, D-Raleigh, HB 2319 would allow the Bureau for Medical Services to design and establish a wholesale prescription drug importation program using Canadian suppliers. (Stuck, 1/16)