Posts Tagged “Deals”

NHS gets £8m payout from Aspen Pharma over anti-competitive practices

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NHS gets £8m payout from Aspen Pharma over anti-competitive practices

The NHS has been given an £8m payout from a pharmaceutical firm after an investigation found that it engaged in anti-competitive practices that pushed up the cost of a life-saving drug for the health service. It is the first time that the Competition and Markets Authority has secured such a payment to the NHS as part of one of its investigations. Aspen, which is also facing a fine of up to £2.1m, supplies the NHS with fludrocortisone, a life-saving medicine mainly used to treat Addison’s disease. It is paid for by the NHS.

“The CMA launched this investigation because we consider it unacceptable for the NHS – and the taxpayers who fund it – to have to pay millions of pounds more than they should for this life-saving drug,” said Andrea Coscelli, the chief executive of the CMA. The CMA’s investigation found that Aspen struck deals to pay two rival companies to stay out of the market for the drug, making Aspen the sole supplier and able to set prices without facing competition. During the CMA’s investigation Aspen made an approach to the regulator in an effort to resolve the case. The company has admitted that it was part of…

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USA: Trump wants to slash drug rebate deals. Will it make a difference?

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USA: Trump wants to slash drug rebate deals. Will it make a difference?

Few consumers have heard of the secret, business-to-business payments that the Trump administration wants to ban in an attempt to control drug costs.

But the administration’s plan for drug rebates, announced Thursday, would end the pharmaceutical business as usual, shift billions in revenue and cause far-reaching, unforeseen change, say health policy authorities.

In pointed language sure to anger middlemen who benefit from the deals, administration officials proposed banning rebates paid by drug companies to ensure coverage for their products under Medicare and Medicaid plans.

“A shadowy system of kickbacks,” was how Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar described the current system in a Friday speech.

The proposal is a regulatory change applying only to Medicare plans for seniors and managed Medicaid plans for low-income people. But private insurers, who often take cues from government programs, might make a similar shift, administration officials said.

Drug rebates are essentially discounts off the list price. Outlawing them would divert $29 billion in rebates now paid to insurers and pharmacy benefit managers into “seniors’ pocketbooks at the pharmacy counter,” Azar said.

The measure already faces fierce opposition from some in the industry and is unlikely to be implemented as presented or by the…

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USA: Purdue Pharma Executives Discussed Expanding Into the Addiction Treatment Market

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USA: Purdue Pharma Executives Discussed Expanding Into the Addiction Treatment Market

Not content with billions of dollars in profits from the potent painkiller OxyContin, its maker explored expanding into an “attractive market” fueled by the drug’s popularity—treatment of opioid addiction, according to previously secret passages in a court document filed by the state of Massachusetts.

In internal correspondence beginning in 2014, Purdue Pharma executives discussed how the sale of opioids and the treatment of opioid addiction are “naturally linked” and that the company should expand across “the pain and addiction spectrum,” according to redacted sections of the lawsuit by the Massachusetts attorney general. A member of the billionaire Sackler family, which founded and controls the privately held company, joined in those discussions and urged staff in an email to give “immediate attention” to this business opportunity, the complaint alleges.

ProPublica reviewed the scores of redacted paragraphs in Massachusetts’ 274-page civil complaint against Purdue, eight Sackler family members, company directors, and current and former executives, which alleges that they created the opioid epidemic through illegal deceit. These passages remain blacked out at the company’s request after the rest of the complaint was made public on January 15th. A Massachusetts Superior Court judge on Monday ordered that the entire document be released, but…

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USA: Drug-pricing policies find new momentum as ‘a 2020 thing’

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USA: Drug-pricing policies find new momentum as ‘a 2020 thing’

The next presidential primary contests are more than a year away. But presumed candidates are already trying to stake a claim to one of health care’s hot-button concerns: surging prescription drug prices.

“This is a 2020 thing,” said Dr. Peter Bach, who directs the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and tracks drug-pricing policy.

Spurred on by midterm election results that showed health care to be a deciding issue, lawmakers — some of whom have already launched presidential run exploratory committees — are pushing a bevy of new proposals and approaches.

Few if any of those ideas will likely make it to the president’s desk. Nevertheless, Senate Democrats eyeing higher office and seeking street cred in the debate are devising more innovative and aggressive strategies to take on Big Pharma.

“Democrats feel as if they’re really able to experiment,” said Rachel Sachs, an associate law professor at Washington University in St. Louis who tracks drug-pricing laws.

Some Republicans are also proposing drug-pricing reform, although experts say their approaches are generally less dramatic.

Here are some of the ideas either introduced in legislation or that senators’ offices confirmed they are considering.

Make…

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USA: Surging drug prices poised to become hot-button issue in 2020 race

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USA: Surging drug prices poised to become hot-button issue in 2020 race

The next presidential primary contests are more than a year away. But presumed candidates are already trying to stake a claim to one of health care’s hot-button concerns: surging prescription drug prices.

“This is a 2020 thing,” said Dr. Peter Bach, who directs the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and tracks drug-pricing policy.

Spurred on by midterm election results that showed health care to be a deciding issue, lawmakers — some of whom have already launched presidential run exploratory committees — are pushing a bevy of new proposals and approaches. Few if any of those ideas will likely make it to the president’s desk. Nevertheless, Senate Democrats eyeing higher office and seeking street cred in the debate are devising more innovative and aggressive strategies to take on Big Pharma.

“Democrats feel as if they’re really able to experiment,” said Rachel Sachs, an associate law professor at Washington University in St. Louis who tracks drug-pricing laws.

Some Republicans are also proposing drug-pricing reform, although experts say their approaches are generally less dramatic.

Here are some of the ideas either introduced in legislation or that senators’ offices confirmed they are considering.

Make…

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NHS England sees off AbbVie’s Hep C legal challenge

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NHS England sees off AbbVie’s Hep C legal challenge

NHS England has claimed a victory after a legal challenge by AbbVie was rejected by the High Court, and says plans to eliminate hepatitis C by 2025 are back on track.

The court victory – and NHS England’s reaction to it – reflect its growing confidence in its use of tough negotiations and procurement to drive down drug prices and strike access deals with pharma.

AbbVie is one of several companies to market the new class of hepatitis C (HCV) treatments known as Maviret (glecaprevir/pibrentasvir), which can cure patients of the serious blood infection. Maviret is in contention with rival treatments such as Gilead’s Sovaldi, Harvoni and Epclusa, to name a few.

NHS England had initially been slow in its uptake of these new curative treatments, but then last year declared it would aim to be the first country in the world to eliminate HCV, with a target date of 2025, and spending £1bn over five years to achieve this goal.

However, in order to make this £1bn stretch to treat millions of HCV patients, NHS England aimed to achieve this via its largest ever procurement process – and called on pharma companies to offer unprecedented discounts to their prices.

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Court backs NHS in hepatitis C procurement row with AbbVie

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Court backs NHS in hepatitis C procurement row with AbbVie

A court has backed NHS England in a case where US pharma giant AbbVie had alleged that its procurement process for hepatitis C drugs was unfair.

NHS England aims to eliminate hepatitis C by 2025 using the ‘largest ever’ drug procurement process, inviting pharma companies to take part in the initiative worth almost a billion pounds over five years. But AbbVie had claimed the NHS breached its duty to treat all bidders fairly and started court proceedings last year.

NHS England said the country’s High Court has dismissed all aspects of the case, claiming that the initiative had been delayed by six months because of the litigation. In the ruling the judge rejected all challenges brought by AbbVie against NHS England’s smart procurement for the supply of curative direct acting antiviral treatments.

The drugs are intended to support a national network of hepatitis C projects that NHS England hopes will eradicate the disease. pharmaphorum understands that contracts have not yet been awarded, and no further details have been announced about which companies are involved.

But only a handful of firms have direct-acting antiviral hepatitis C drugs approved – meaning that as well as AbbVie, pharma companies such as Gilead, Johnson…

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USA: proposals on International Reference Pricing based on EU experience

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USA: proposals on International Reference Pricing based on EU experience

President Trump has had big pharma in his sights for some time. As his presidency continues, more has emerged about the administrations plans to tackle an industry that Trump has suggested has gotten away with murder. The latest proposals — an International Pricing Index — amount to international reference pricing (IRP). IRP is something that countries in Europe have been doing for years, so what lessons are there?

US international reference pricing proposals

Trump announced in October 2018 that Medicare could pay for some prescription drugs based on prices paid in other industrialized countries. Trump is credited with pointing out that basing prices to be paid via a state funded purchaser would be “revolutionary”. That’s not the case, with European countries using the prices paid by their peers for years, although the moniker used to describe it can vary, popular is using the moniker External Reference Pricing (ERP).

For US IRP, a demonstration project will be run through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, created under the Affordable Care Act. The Trump proposals are not going to take effect until late 2019, or early 2020.

While the full details aren’t yet agreed – there is a window of time allowing people…

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IPHA in Ireland finds it challenging establishing partnerships with key stakeholders and authorities

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IPHA in Ireland finds it challenging establishing partnerships with key stakeholders and authorities

Big Pharma in Ireland has an image problem. At least that’s how it sees it. “I think we are not seen as a trusted partner,” says Aidan Lynch, president of the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (Ipha), the body representing the research pharma industry in Ireland. Partnership is a recurring theme for Lynch as he starts his two-year term as head of the group that has spent much of its recent past at loggerheads with government and the health authorities over getting its members paid for the new medicines they develop.

“I want to move us along in terms of how the other side, if I can say that, sees us in terms of partnership,” he says. “I think as a representative body we’re not anywhere close to where we should be in terms of how our stakeholders see us in terms of partnership.”

Little surprise then that the term “partnership” figures prominently in the lobby group’s recent policy document which carries the somewhat grandiose title of Manifesto for Better Health.

Lynch acknowledges that too often the conversation between the parties has been about price rather than the wider benefit of new therapies.

“The perception from the other side is that…

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NHI in South Africa is a big deal, we are discussing it, but where are the details?

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NHI in South Africa is a big deal, we are discussing it, but where are the details?

While debates rage about the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill in South Africa and its shortcomings, Wits School of Governance professor of public governance Robbie van Niekerk says it is “a big idea” everyone should be discussing.

He says this is perhaps the most significant social policy introduced since the advent of democracy as it deals directly with the inequality of resource distribution between social classes. Health provision is a public good that affects all inhabitants of SA.

“I don’t think we have reached the point of a societal foundation because we failed to effectively communicate to the mass of society the scale of the inequality and the long-term benefits of a universal public health system as originally envisaged by the NHI,” says Van Niekerk. “That is a troubling element in how this debate is unfolding. It’s a wake-up call.”

In SA, 50% of yearly health spending — public and private combined — is incurred by the 16% of the population covered by medical aid and the other 50% on the 84% of the population wholly reliant on public health or those who make small payments for private health care.

Van Niekerk says: “Is it any wonder that our service delivery system is…

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