Verma: There Need To Be ‘Serious Discussions’ On How To Pay Sky-High Costs Of Innovative Drugs
CMS Administrator Seema Verma says that the extremely expensive treatments are unlike anything the agency's dealt with in the past, and there needs to be a way to handle such high costs. But she vehemently shot down the idea that Medicare should have negotiating power over drug prices. In other pharmaceutical news: insulin prices, FDA approvals, microbiome drugs, and more.
Verma Exploring Outcome-Based Ideas To Tackle High Drug Costs
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said Wednesday there need to be "serious discussions" on how to pay for new and extremely pricey drug innovations but slammed the idea of giving Medicare negotiating power. Verma told reporters that Medicare and Medicaid's payment systems were not expected to deal with high costs for new and curative innovations. (King, 5/22)
The Associated Press:
Lilly Selling Half-Price Version Of Popular Humalog Insulin
A half-price version of Eli Lilly's popular Humalog insulin is now available, following the company's promise in March to offer diabetics a more affordable option amid fierce criticism of soaring insulin prices. Lilly, one of the three top insulin makers, said Wednesday that it has begun selling its own generic version of Humalog U-100 under the chemical name insulin lispro. (Johnson, 5/22)
Did FDA Unfairly Treat Catalyst By Approving Jacobus' Similar Drug?
Reeling from an unexpected move by regulators, Catalyst Pharmaceuticals (CPRX) is threatening to hit back. Until recently, the drug maker had been riding high. Last December, the Food and Drug Administration approved its medicine for treating adults with a rare neuromuscular disorder called LEMS, which meant Catalyst has seven years of marketing exclusivity. And despite controversy over its $375,000 price tag, the company appeared to have silenced some critics with assistance programs that kept patient out-of-pocket costs low. Meanwhile, its soaring stock price pleased investors. (Silverman, 5/23)
Microbiome Therapies Could Be The Next Frontier In Medicine. But How Exactly Do You Make Them?
Before any company can begin a clinical trial, the Food and Drug Administration has to know how they’re going to make their “drug.” For some microbiome companies, that’s not really a problem; to put it delicately, the active ingredient for their drug comes from the guts of willing volunteers. All that’s left to do is process it. But as more attention and hope is placed on bacteria specifically selected or designed to be therapeutic, the companies testing them may hit a roadblock that could cost them millions or slow their progress.The problem? Manufacturing bacteria for drugs is really hard. (Sheridan, 5/23)
Men Are Paying Sixfold Markups To Feel Cool About Buying Generic Viagra
Startups selling sexual-wellness drugs and treatments for baldness have upended the way medicine is sold over the internet, but their customers are paying heavily marked-up prices. Hims Inc. and Roman Health Medical LLC, two of the most popular of those startups, sell erection and hair-loss drugs. They’re following the pharmaceutical version of a common retail startup strategy: take a pedestrian product category—sheets and mattresses, furniture or, in this case, generic drugs—and attempt to turn it into internet riches with fashionable packaging, social media-driven marketing and plenty of venture capital. (Brown, De Vynck and Langreth, 5/22)
Grassley: Trump's Blowup With Democrats Won't Hurt Drug Price Legislation
Senate Finance chairman Chuck Grassley said he's confident that bipartisan drug pricing legislation won't be derailed by President Donald Trump's declaration this morning that he won't work with Democratic lawmakers until they end investigations into his administration. (Ollstein, 5/22)
Pelosi Pricing Plan Would Force Negotiation On At Least 25 Drugs A Year
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's forthcoming drug pricing plan is expected to focus on negotiating the cost of at least 25 drugs a year, according to new details she released at a private meeting this afternoon, a senior Democratic aide confirmed to POLITICO. The long-awaited plan could still face pushback from progressive Democrats, who have been rallying behind a more aggressive bill that targets all drugs in Medicare Part D. (Karlin-Smith and Cancryn, 5/22)