Tag Archives: Prescription Drugs

PODCAST: ‘THE FUTURE OF DRUG PRICE TRANSPARENCY’

Interview with Dr. William Feldman on a new federal price-transparency rule and legal challenges to efforts to increase access to pricing information.

William Feldman is a physician and researcher in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Stephen Morrissey, the interviewer, is the Executive Managing Editor of the Journal.

Health: How ‘Statins’ Prevent Heart Attacks And Strokes’ (CDC Video)

Statins are a type of medication used to lower the level of bad cholesterol in the blood and reduce build-up in arteries that can cause a heart attack or stroke. This short animated video explains the importance of statins, how they work, and why your doctor may prescribe them.

Prescription Drugs: ‘Why They Remain High-Priced’

By Kerry Dooley Young (September 28, 2020)

There may be few issues that unite Americans ahead of the 2020 election as do their concerns about the cost of prescription drugs.

A clear majority — 75% — of respondents to a July survey said the cost of prescription medicines would be among the factors likely to influence their votes this year, according to a report from Gallup and the nonprofit West Health. Gallup reported on results from 1,007 interviews conducted with adults between July 1 and July 24.

1. What are the 2020 presidential candidates saying they will do to lower drug prices?

Both President Donald Trump, a Republican, and former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democrat, have highlighted insulin costs in their discussions of the need to lower drug prices.

In a January interview with the New York Times editorial board, Biden noted the widespread discontent among Americans about sticker shock often experienced at pharmacies. He spoke of a need for the federal government to act to make medicines more affordable.

“This is a place where I find, whether you’re Republican or Democrat, you think you’re getting screwed on drug prices. And you are, in terms of everything from insulin to inhalers and a whole range of other things,” Biden said. “So, again, can I guarantee that it gets done? No, but I can tell you what, if anybody can get it done, I can, and I think there’s a consensus for it.”

2. Why doesn’t Medicare, the biggest U.S. purchaser of drugs, directly negotiate on drug prices?

Congress has taken different approaches in designing the terms under which the two largest federal health programs, Medicaid and Medicare, buy drugs.

Medicaid is a program run by states with federal contributions and oversight. It covers people with low incomes and disabilities. Almost 67 million people were enrolled in Medicaid as of May 2020, including about 29 million children. In 1990 Congress decided that drugmakers who want to have their products covered by Medicaid must give rebates to the government. The initial rebate is equal to 23.1% of the average manufacturer price (AMP) for most drugs, or the AMP minus the best price provided to most other private-sector payers, whichever is greater. An additional rebate kicks in when prices rise faster than general inflation.

3. What’s the deal with rebates and discounts?

There’s widespread frustration among lawmakers and policy analysts about the lack of clarity about the role of middlemen in the supply chain for medicines. Known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), these businesses describe the aim of their business as making drugs more affordable for consumers. Insurers like Cigna and UnitedHealth operate some of the nation’s largest PBMs, as does pharmacy giant CVS Health, which also owns insurer Aetna.

“They will tell you their mission is to lower drug costs,” said Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter, a Georgia Republican, a pharmacist and a critic of PBMs, in a speech on the House floor last year. “My question to you would be: How is that working out?”

4. What is the “distinctly American” phenomenon of specialty drugs?

Kesselheim also has written on what he terms “Specialty Drugs — A Distinctly American Phenomenon.” That’s the title of a 2020 paper in the New England Journal of Medicine Kesselheim authored with Huseyin Naci, an associate professor of health policy at the London School of Economics.

In this Perspective article, Kesselheim and Naci look at how the “specialty” designation morphed from its origin in the 1970s. It then referred to a need for extra steps for preparation and delivery of new injectable and infusion products.

5. How much does it cost to bring a new drug to market anyway? 

The median cost for a medicine developed in recent years was $985 million, according to a study published in JAMA in March 2020, “Estimated Research and Development Investment Needed to Bring a New Medicine to Market, 2009-2018.”

“Rising drug prices have attracted public debate in the United States and abroad on fairness of drug pricing and revenues,” write the study’s authors: Olivier J. Wouters of the London School of Economics; Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and Jeroen Luyten of Leuven Institute for Healthcare Policy, KU Leuven, Belgium. “Central to this debate is the scale of research and development investment by companies that is required to bring new medicines to market.”

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Health: How 60-Year Old “Dexamethasone” Became World’s Best Hope For Covid-19 Patients (Video)

FiveThiryEight VideoDexamethasone, a steroid that appears promising for COVID-19 patients, has a long and storied history in medicine. We talk with experts about its many uses, and explore how it might save lives in this pandemic. Writer, Reporter, Editor, Narrator: Sara Reardon Animator: Donald Pearsall

Medicine: “Relentless Prescription Drug Price Increases” (JAMA Podcast)

JAMA Network NewsDrug Pricing Theme Issue: Is Pharma Earning Too Much?, R&D Costs Required to Bring a New Drug to Market, Probiotic Safety, and more

One in 4 people in the US has difficulty paying the cost of their prescription medications. This stark fact was recently reported in a 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation public opinion poll among a nationally representative random sample of 1205 adults.1 Persons who reported having the greatest difficulty affording their prescription drugs were those who most needed them, including those who took 4 or more prescription drugs, spent $100 or more per month on their drugs, and reported being in fair or poor health.

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Healthcare: “10 Drugs And Medical Devices Approved By FDA In Dec. 2019 (BHR)

From a Becker’s Hospital Review (BHR) online release article:

10 drugs and medical devices approved by the FDA since Dec. 6:

  1. Enhertu is Japanese drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo’s drug designed to treat HER2-positive breast cancer.
  2. Padcev is Astellas Pharma’s drug designed to target specific cancer cells to treat urothelial cancers.
  3. Control-IQ Technology controller is Tandem Diabetes Care’s insulin device, designed to help diabetes patients tailor their treatments to their individual needs.
  4. Vascepa is Amarin Pharmaceuticals’ drug, a fish oil-derived pill designed to treatVascepa benefits cardiovascular events.
  5. EXALT Model D is Boston Scientific’s device, the first fully disposable duodenoscope, designed to reduce the risk of infections in patients treated with the device.
  6. Vyondys 53 is Sarepta Therapeutics’ drug designed to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which the FDA had previously rejected.
  7. GSP Neonatal Creatine Kinase-MM kit is PerkinElmer’s device, used to detect Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in newborns.
  8. Unidose liquid system is AptarGroup’s device that uses a nasal spray to treat seizures. It is the first and only nasal treatment for patients with epilepsy.
  9. Avsola is Amgen’s drug, a biosimilar of Johnson & Johnson’s Remicade. It is designed to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
  10. cobas vivoDx is Roche Molecular Systems’ device, designed to diagnose MRSA hours faster than traditional tests.

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To read article at Becker’s Hospital Review