THE REFILL: Latest Dosage of Rx Patent Abuse

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Last week, the JAMA Network published a must-read study which found that from 2007 to 2018, the net price of brand-name prescription drugs rose by 60 percent. First reported on by Axios, this study emphasizes the growing obstacle everyday Americans face when trying to afford the often lifesaving prescription drugs they need.  To prevent this kind of price gouging, Congress needs to rein in the big pharmaceutical companies abuse of the patent system.
  • “Drugmakers often argue that the uproar over drug prices is overblown, saying it focuses too much on list prices instead of the discounted prices insurance plans end up paying. But this study shows that those prices, too, are rising.” – Axios

WHAT YOU SHOULD BE READING:

The Wall Street Journal: Opinion: White House Principles for Reducing Drug Costs
Joe Grogan 

  • A divided Congress in a presidential election year may seem an unlikely setting for the first major drug-pricing reform in decades, but over the past year common goals and designs have emerged to set up a rare opportunity. President Trump in his State of the Union address called on both parties to “get something on drug pricing done, done quickly, and done properly.” During times when our country faces public health challenges, America’s strength in pharmaceutical innovation is recognized as an asset we must employ. The administration’s goal is to help patients, including seniors, afford the drugs they need, not destroy this vital industry. The White House urges Congress to adhere to the following five principles:

POLITICO Pro: Biden And Sanders Far Apart On Drug Pricing
Sarah Karlin-Smith & Sarah Owermohle

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden’s plan is less aggressive than Sen. Bernie Sanders’ proposal. For example, while Biden calls for letting the government negotiate the price of drugs in Medicare, he doesn’t propose a stick that would give the government leverage to significantly reduce prices. The Congressional Budget Office has said that simply giving Medicare the authority to negotiate drug costs doesn’t save the government much money. Sanders goes further than Biden through his Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act, S. 99 (116), which would let the government negotiate drug prices in Medicare Part D and establish a formulary.

STAT News: The Coronavirus Could Help Pharma Reset Its Reputation In Washington
Nicholas Florko

  • The coronavirus outbreak could be the pharmaceutical industry’s ticket to saving its reputation in Washington. Already, the fervid crusade to contain the epidemic refocused a White House meeting centered on high drug prices onto the industry’s ostensibly more commendable work to develop vaccines and therapies that target the virus. And there are early indications the industry is leveraging the shift in the conversation: new ads from the industry trade group PhRMA, featured recently in several D.C. health policy newsletters, implore readers to “See how the industry is helping.”

The Hill: Increased Competition, Lower Costs: A Prescription To Address Medications PRICED Out Of Reach
Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) & Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL)

  • One quarter of Americans taking prescription drugs say they have been unable to afford the medication they need in the last 12 months. Thirty four million people know at least one friend or family member in the last five years who died because they could not afford the medication to treat their condition. The most expensive drugs, sometimes costing tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, are a class of pharmaceuticals called biologics. Biologics are drugs made from living organisms, and they include treatments for diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease.

STAT News: Novartis Generic Unit To Pay $195 Million To Settle Price Fixing Charges
Ed Silverman

  • In the latest fallout from a federal probe into generic drug price fixing, the Sandoz unit of Novartis (NVS) agreed to pay $195 million to resolve criminal charges of conspiring with other manufacturers, the third company to be charged as part of the long-running investigation. The company, which is one of the world’s largest purveyors of generic medicines, admitted to working with several rivals to set prices for several medicines, including a blood pressure pill, an eczema ointment, and a cystic fibrosis treatment between 2013 and 2015, the Department of Justice said in a statement. Sandoz admitted that sales affected by its activities exceeded $500 million.

STAT News: FDA Approves A Generic Version Of The Drug Martin Shkreli Monopolized
Damian Garde

  • The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a generic version of Daraprim, the anti-infective treatment made famous when Martin Shkreli’s company raised its price by more than 5,000%. The approval means Shkreli’s company, now called Phoenixus, will no longer have a monopoly on Daraprim, which lost patent protection years ago. Cerovene, a U.S. generics company, will market an identical product.

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