Posts Tagged “Pharmaceutical industry”

Health advocates say schizophrenia should be reclassified as a brain disease

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Health advocates say schizophrenia should be reclassified as a brain disease

Mental health advocates are lobbying Congress to help them get schizophrenia classified as a brain disease like Parkinson’s or Alzheimers, instead of as a mental illness, a move that could reduce stigma and lead to more dollars for a cure. Federal health officials, scientists and doctors say conditions that cause psychosis, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are poorly understood and, in the public mind, often associated with violent behavior. Patients are more likely to be homeless, incarcerated, commit suicide and die younger than those with any other neurological diseases.

“Look at the disconnect in the way these patients are treated. It’s unconscionable,” said Raymond Cho, professor of psychiatry research at Baylor College of Medicine and chairman of the Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America. His group is among those focusing on appropriators in Congress — particularly those who have championed mental health in the past — to include schizophrenia in a new CDC program that aims to collect data on the prevalence and risk factors of neurological conditions in the U.S. population. The findings could eventually be used to push the World Health Organization to reclassify the disorder — a complicated process that may take years. The…

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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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Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders just slammed the Swiss drug giant Novartis over a new controversy swirling around the world’s most expensive drug

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Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders just slammed the Swiss drug giant Novartis over a new controversy swirling around the world’s most expensive drug

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were two of five senators who condemned Novartis’ AveXis for submitting falsified data to the FDA. Mary Schwalm/Reuters Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are among a group of five senators who slammed Novartis’ AveXis for submitting manipulated data to the FDA ahead of the approval of its gene-therapy drug. The FDA revealed the data-manipulation issue earlier this week, saying that it affected only a small portion of product-testing data and that the regulator was confident the drug, Zolgensma, should keep being sold. “This scandal smacks of the pharmaceutical industry’s privilege and greed, and Americans are sick of it,” the senators wrote in a letter to Ned Sharpless, the acting head of the FDA. Novartis said it first learned about the data problem in March. But the Swiss drug giant informed the FDA months later, after the gene therapy was approved, the FDA said . The five senators encouraged the FDA to “use your full authorities to hold AveXis accountable for its malfeasance,” adding that “anything short of a forceful response would signal a green light to future pharmaceutical misbehavior.” Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories . Five senators, including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders,…

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USA: The Fight To Lower Soaring Drug Prices Turns Bitter Between States And The Feds

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USA: The Fight To Lower Soaring Drug Prices Turns Bitter Between States And The Feds

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…

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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: 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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Should Sub-Saharan Africa Make Its Own Drugs?

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Should Sub-Saharan Africa Make Its Own Drugs?

With imports comprising as much as 70 to 90 percent of drugs consumed in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, many governments are considering whether it’s time to promote more local production. Drug imports, including both over-the-counter and prescription drugs, do considerably exceed those into China and India—where comparable populations import around 5 percent and 20 percent, respectively. And it does put strain on government and household budgets and already limited foreign exchanges.

To better understand the realities of promoting local drug production, we undertook a systematic analysis of the current state of the market. The analysis focused on simple, small molecules, such as generic drugs, since the economics and technical challenges would vary for more complex products, such as combination drugs, injectables, and vaccines. We evaluated the costs and benefits of increasing production not only in economic terms but also in their impact on the wider economy and on public health systems. We then compared that to local measures of feasibility, including government will, demand, investment attractiveness, and implementation capacity, especially with respect to quality (Exhibit 1).

The analysis depicts an opportunity that varies from country to country. In some countries, a manufacturing hub is unlikely to be economical. In a half…

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How pharmaceutical companies game the patent system

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How pharmaceutical companies game the patent system

soThere’s a great quote by a German economist from the 1700s, and it got translated into a book by a Cambridge professor, it’s called Kicking Away the Ladder. And the idea being, when you reach the top of the ladder, you kick it away so that no one can climb up it. And that’s how the laws and the trade rules get framed in intellectual property, is you don’t want someone to compete. So intellectual poverty really is about the political economy of comparative advantage and who holds the power and who really can then dictate how economies work in this modern economy.

Pharmaceutical companies—typically what they will do in the small molecule space, which is the organic chemistry space—so there’s a lot of products that are based on small compounds—what they’ll typically do is get the first patent, and it’s the broadest coverage to protect the area that they want to do the research in. And typically, the first patent could cover millions of compounds, which they’ve screened. And then they will get into looking at which of those compounds have the best properties for a particular disease area they’re going to look at, and then they will formulate…

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5 ways Trump is changing health care

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5 ways Trump is changing health care

President Donald Trump hasn’t fulfilled his campaign promise to repeal Obamacare outright, but he’s fundamentally reshaped the debate over health care in America in myriad ways during his two years in office.

Along with chipping away at the landmark Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration has made a historic and controversial change to Medicaid, allowing states to require many participants who gained coverage through Obamacare to work or lose their benefits.

Another major focus of the President: the cost of drugs. Like Democrats, Trump has repeatedly decried the rising price of drugs, and his administration has unveiled multiple proposals to try to contain costs.

When it comes to Medicare, the administration has continued to make private Medicare plans more attractive. And in keeping with conservative positions, officials have rolled back access to contraceptives as well as abortion.

Here’s what’s changed so far:

Obamacare

Trump made his first move to weaken the Affordable Care Act only hours after his inauguration, signing an executive order directing agencies to interpret regulations as loosely as possible and to minimize the financial burden of the law through waivers, exemptions or delays.

But after the Republican-controlled Congress failed to repeal Obamacare, Trump unleashed a series of…

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