Posts Tagged “Pharma”

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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Opioid epidemic: Prescription pills were made and sold ‘like Doritos’

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Opioid epidemic: Prescription pills were made and sold ‘like Doritos’

Much of the responsibility for the opioid epidemic has been directed at Purdue Pharma, and not without good reason. Purdue introduced OxyContin in the mid-1990s and marketed it aggressively. Its sales representatives lied about its addictive qualities. Its executives downplayed reports of abuse. Its owners grew rich while thousands of people died and countless families were shattered. But documents pried loose last month, thanks to legal action by The Washington Post and the Charleston Gazette-Mail, confirm that there is plenty of blame to go around for the opioid crisis , much of it falling on other drugmakers and distributors.

The data, compiled in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System database , shows that from 2006 to 2012 America was saturated with an astonishing 76 billion prescription opioid pills — about 230 for every adult and child in the country. Even as more people became addicted and deaths involving opioids skyrocketed (from 8,048 in 1999 to 18,515 in 2007 to 47,600 in 2017), more companies ramped up the business of making, distributing and dispensing generic forms of powerful painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. Among drugmakers, Purdue actually ranked fourth (2.5 billion pills) in the ARCOS…

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Canadians don’t want Americans stealing their prescription drugs.

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Canadians don’t want Americans stealing their prescription drugs.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration released its official plan to eventually let Americans import inexpensive prescription drugs from Canada. This is a popular idea that conservatives long resisted, but it has recently caught on among politicians on both sides of the aisle thanks to the growing sense of crisis over U.S. pharmaceutical prices. States including Florida , Maine , Colorado , and Vermont have passed laws to let their residents buy medicine over the border . Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders recently joined a bus caravan of diabetes patients that traveled to Ontario in order to stock up on insulin. (Under current law, U.S. residents are allowed to bring back up to a three-month supply of medication from across the border for personal use.)

But while Americans might like the idea of treating their northern neighbor as one big discount pharmacy, Canadians seem to be less than thrilled by it. There has been concern that large-scale U.S. imports could exacerbate the drug shortages that are already a regular problem in the country. In July, 15 groups representing doctors, patients, and pharmacies sent an open letter to Canada’s health minister warning about the potential problems. “The Canadian medicine supply…

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Top Republican Pushes Drug Bill That Divides GOP But Trump Wants Win On Issue : NPR

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Top Republican Pushes Drug Bill That Divides GOP But Trump Wants Win On Issue : NPR

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…

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WHO Report Flags Distortion of Investment and Innovation in Cancer Research

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WHO Report Flags Distortion of Investment and Innovation in Cancer Research

The report says pharmaceutical companies set prices according to their commercial goals and focus on extracting the maximum amount that a buyer is willing to pay.

High prices of cancer drugs hurting desperate patients have caught the attention of policymakers everywhere. But do high prices of medicines that provide huge financial returns to pharmaceutical companies also distort innovation?

A new cancer report by World Health Organisation (WHO) has both countries and the pharma industry debating on just how much profit cancer drugs generate for pharmaceutical companies. At stake is not only how much money the drug industry makes from high priced cancer drugs, but also, as the report suggests – is this investment really efficient? Is too much money chasing too few cancer drug candidates with only marginal benefits, diverting funds away from other therapeutic areas?

The technical report that minced no words, said that “pharmaceutical companies set prices according to their commercial goals, with a focus on extracting the maximum amount that a buyer is willing to pay for a medicine”. The industry denounced the report as flawed.

The report showed that in some cases, the return on investment on research and development fetched companies as much as $14…

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USA: On Both Ends of Capitol, Both Parties Warn Big Pharma on Drug Prices

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USA: On Both Ends of Capitol, Both Parties Warn Big Pharma on Drug Prices

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…

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USA: UPMC, AstraZeneca Enter Value-Based Pharmaceutical Contract

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USA: UPMC, AstraZeneca Enter Value-Based Pharmaceutical Contract

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…

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USA: Democrats Are About to Give Big Pharma the Big Tobacco Treatment

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USA: Democrats Are About to Give Big Pharma the Big Tobacco Treatment

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…

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USA, MA: Charlie Baker takes on Big Pharma

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USA, MA: Charlie Baker takes on Big Pharma

Drugs — life-saving drugs — are changing lives, changing the way health care is delivered, and changing the way states, including Massachusetts, are wrestling with the rising public costs of paying for those drugs.

Last week in his proposed 2019-20 state budget, Governor Charlie Baker offered up yet another way to help control those rising prescription drug costs, promising that getting tougher not on MassHealth patients but on pharmaceutical companies could save some $80 million a year. Yes, that’s a big number — but it makes the point that this aspect of Medicaid spending is indeed a big ticket item that needs to be addressed.

That’s not surprising, given that some 1.86 million low-income residents are covered under the program — and that the cost of prescription medications are rising faster than the cost of any other aspect of health care. According to Baker’s budget team, spending on drugs under MassHealth has just about doubled since 2012, to $1.9 billion a year.

The problem, of course is not unique to Massachusetts or even to Medicaid spending. It’s one that private insurers and the federal Medicare bureaucracy are also wrestling with. And no doubt the Baker administration didn’t pick that 2012…

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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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