Posts Tagged “Drug prices”
U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday accused three major pharmaceutical companies of “coordinated obstruction” and “apparent efforts to stonewall” an investigation on generic drug prices launched in 2014. Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight, Elijah Cummings, D-Md., along with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., sent letters to Mylan, Teva Pharmaceutical and Heritage Pharmaceuticals asking them to turn over documents, according to a joint statement Wednesday. The lawmakers said they decided to open an investigation following findings in a lawsuit filed by 44 states in May that accused the drugmakers and others of inflating drug prices and stifling competition for generic drug versions.
“Not only did your company’s apparent obstruction undermine our investigation, but it may have caused further harm to patients and health care providers by delaying the discovery of evidence about the companies’ price-fixing,” Cummings and Sanders wrote in each of the letters, dated August 13. Shares of Mylan and Teva Pharmaceutical were each down roughly 8% on Wednesday. A spokesperson for Mylan said the company, with the help of outside counsel, is investigation the allegations made in the states’ lawsuit.
“We have not found any evidence to corroborate the allegations. We are prepared to make our case in a court…
Dr. Steven Curry, a medical toxicologist and professor at the University of Arizona, has treated snakebites since the 1980s — long enough to remember when the treatment represented its own form of misery. The first medication Curry used sometimes caused an immune reaction called serum sickness — patients broke out in a severe, itchy rash. Then, about 20 years ago, the snake antivenin CroFab entered the market and dramatically reduced the adverse reactions associated with treatment, he says.
But the drug came with a sky-high price tag. In one case reported by NPR and Kaiser Health News , an Indiana hospital last summer charged nearly $68,000 for four vials of CroFab. Now, CroFab faces competition from a snake antivenin called Anavip . Curry says the health system he works for in Phoenix — Banner Health — is using the new drug as its first line of treatment. It is switching, he says, because Anavip could reduce readmissions by better controlling bleeding associated with a snakebite and lead to “substantial savings” for the hospital.
But few experts who study drug laws and drug prices expect this competition to reduce the cost for patients. Legal wrangling, the advantageous use of the…
Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders joined a caravan of people with diabetes crossing the border to Canada to buy insulin to highlight the drastic price difference of the medicine — which can be one-tenth of what it costs in the United States. A new proposal from the Trump administration could make trips like these unnecessary in the near future. The plan would allow states, pharmacies and drug manufacturers in the United States to import prescription drugs from Canada.
Why there’s debate: Proponents of the idea say access to cheaper Canadian drugs would save the lives of patients who struggle to afford the medicine they need from American sellers. Drug companies in the United States would ultimately be forced to lower their prices to compete with less expensive imports, they argue. The U.S. plan sparked significant concerns from Canadians worried that demand from the massive American market would lead to drug shortages or price increases in their country, despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge to maintain a “steady and solid supply” of drugs in Canada. Others point out that the plan may not apply to some of the most expensive drugs, including insulin. Skeptics on both sides of the border argue…
Back home in Iowa for the August recess, Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley is making the case in this conservative state for a sweeping drug bill, even though many in his party do not support it. “One of the few times, if it isn’t the only time, that I’ve been chairman of various committees that I haven’t had at least a majority of Republicans on my side,” Grassley conceded at a town hall meeting in Aurelia this week, but he added: “It’s probably more valuable to have the president on your side.” For 39 years and counting, the Republican senator has traveled to all 99 counties in his home state every year to meet with constituents, and this year the high cost of prescription drugs has come up in nearly all of them. It’s why Iowans like Allan Yeager showed up, to hear more about plans that could help his family, where his wife has faced high out-of-pocket drug costs. “She’s a severe diabetic, she had gastric bypass. When we retired she got a bonus and they were used up like that,” he told NPR. Grassley’s bill to reduce seniors’ out-of-pocket costs and limit drug price increases under Medicare is…
Frustrated by federal inaction, state lawmakers in 41 states have proposed detailed plans to lower soaring prescription drug costs. Some measures would give state Medicaid agencies more negotiating power. Others would disclose the pricing decisions of the drug manufacturers and the companies that administer prescription drug plans.
The more ambitious proposals would bump up against federal authority, such as legislation that would allow importing drugs from Canada or alter federal statutes on the prices states pay for drugs in Medicaid. They likely would have to survive a challenge in federal court. And many likely would face resistance from a deep-pocketed pharmaceutical industry.
According to the National Institute on Money and Politics, a nonprofit that collects campaign finance data, the pharmaceutical industry in 2018 contributed nearly $19 million to state campaigns, and $56 million to federal ones.
“States are limited in power in this area,” said Rachel Sachs, a health law expert at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. “But one of the impacts of these efforts is to put pressure on the federal government, and force it to justify its actions to stymie the states.”
President Donald Trump has criticized soaring drug prices, and on Thursday the Department…
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…
Members of Congress from both parties served notice on pharmaceutical companies on Tuesday that the days of unchecked drug-price increases were over and that they would be held politically accountable for exorbitant prices.
The new reality became apparent at simultaneous but separate hearings of House and Senate committees where lawmakers said that the relentless increases were unsustainable and unacceptable.
“There is a strong bipartisan consensus that we must do something to rein in out-of-control price increases,” said Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland and the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. “Drug companies make money hand over fist by raising the prices of their drugs — often without justification and sometimes overnight — while patients are left holding the bill.”
On the other side of the Capitol, Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and the chairman of the Finance Committee, and Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the senior Democrat on the panel, denounced drug company executives who they said had refused to testify voluntarily.
Mr. Grassley expressed “displeasure at the lack of cooperation from the pharmaceutical manufacturers” and vowed to insist on their testimony in coming months.
Mr. Wyden said: “Even the Big Tobacco C.E.O.s…
UPMC Health Plan and AstraZeneca are taking on the challenge of a value-based pharmaceutical contract for one of the manufacturer’s cardiovascular medications.
Reimbursement for prescriptions of BRILINTA, a drug intended to help heart attack patients forestall or lessen the impact of subsequent events, will be connected to cardiovascular outcomes for targeted populations, the two organizations stated.
“In alignment with our commitment to ensuring patient access, lowering patient costs and sustaining innovation, AstraZeneca is pleased to collaborate with UPMC Health Plan on this novel agreement to lower out-of-pocket costs for UPMC for Life Medicare patients through dual-sided risk and proud to stand behind the value of BRILINTA® in improving patient outcomes,” said Rick R. Suarez, senior vice president, US Market Access, AstraZeneca.
The agreement builds on a new genre of value-based reimbursements slowly taking hold in the industry: tying payments for costly medications to how well they achieve stated goals.
The contract was developed by Value-Based Pharmacy Initiatives, the UPMC Insurance Services Division’s nonprofit research group in collaboration with AstraZeneca and leaders from the UPMC health system.
“This type of contract reflects the innovative work that we are leading at the Center for Value-Based Pharmacy Initiatives,” said Chronis Manolis, RPh, chief pharmacy officer at UPMC Health…
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, part of the Department of Health and Human Services has proposed a reform titled “Modernizing Part D and Medicare Advantage to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenses.” Many are arguing for and against the reforms, which some mentioning how HIV care would be threatened.
PhRMA have commented that ‘overall, the changes to the six protected classes should not be finalised: PhRMA strongly opposes proposed changes to the six protected classes policy. The protected class policy affords access to vital and life-saving medicines for patients with serious and debilitating conditions. The administration is proposing to weaken the current six protected class policy in several ways, notably by allowing health plans to force patients who are stable on a medicine to go through prior authorisation or step therapy. We have several concerns with these proposed changes. The proposed changes could have serious health consequences for patients and are unnecessary given that plans already have tools to manage utilisation in these classes and significant savings from the proposed changes are unlikely. We also have legal concerns with the proposed changes, which are inconsistent with Part D’s non-discrimination protections.’
The National Association of Specialty Pharmacy has also…
Since flipping the House of Representatives in last year’s midterms, Democrats have been waiting to see real oversight return to the halls of Congress. That arrived on Tuesday, with the Committee on Oversight and Reform’s first hearing of 2019. But the subject at hand may have disappointed those who were hoping for a dramatic broadside against the Trump administration.
“Our first witness today is not President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen,” said chairman Elijah Cummings. “It’s not someone from the White House or even the Trump administration… The first witness is Antoinette Worsham.”
Worsham, a working mother from Cincinnati wearing a T-shirt reading “Patients Over Profits,” told the committee about her two daughters, both of whom were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. When the oldest, Antavia, turned 21, she was kicked off the Bureau for Children of Medical Handicaps, a state program that helped pay for her insulin. Unable to afford the medication, Antavia began to ration it. Eventually, she died. Worsham’s second child, Antanique, a freshman at the University of Toledo, fears the same fate.
“In two years my daughter will be 21,” Worsham told the committee, her voice cracking. “I am crying out and asking for you to…