Generic companies making bread and butter pills instead of fancy blockbusters face crisis

News organizations are reporting stories related to the pricing of pharmaceuticals.

Bloomberg: Are Drug Prices Too Low?

The mood at the annual generic drug industry conference in Orlando in February was particularly grim. Discussion during a panel focused on falling drug prices, consolidation between drug buying groups, and the increasingly fierce nature of the business. A senior executive at Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the number 1 supplier of generics in the United States, which is laying off 14,000 employees and shutting down about half of its 80 manufacturing plants, tried to ease the mood with gallows humor: “Teva certainly doesn’t have any challenges,” said Brendan O’Grady, executive vice president who leads its business operations in North America. The joke hit the mark, maybe because it landed so close to us. (Koons, 4/11)

Stat: Pharmaceutical Company Payments Seem To Influence Oncologists Prescribing Patterns

In the latest review of the financial ties between doctors and drugmakers, a new analysis finds that oncologists who received payments for activities such as consulting or speaking were more likely to prescribe drugs sold by these companies. Specifically, physicians who received either research funding or general payments – which included meals and travel expenses – were almost twice as likely to prescribe a kidney cancer drug sold by a company that marketed the drug. And the chances were 29% higher that doctors would prescribe chronic myelogenous leukemia sold by a company that provided such payments. (Silverman, 4/10)

The Washington Post: CVS pharmacists will have new tools to help patients save money on drugs

CVS Health is rolling out a new tool to alert its 30,000 pharmacists to cheaper drug options when they are filling patient prescriptions. For years, pharmacists have replaced generic drugs with identical branded versions. But CVS Pharmacy’s Rx Savings Finder program will allow pharmacists and consumers to challenge physician prescribing choices to save patients money. (Johnson, 4/11)

Stat: Massachusetts Governor Defends Vertex Pricing, Says “Innovation Is Expensive”

Despite heated rhetoric about the cost of prescription drugs, drug pricing today is “messy and complicated,” the Massachusetts governor said on Monday, allowing drug companies to try to recoup their investments. Gov. Charlie Baker, asked if drug companies “get by with the murder” as President Trump has claimed, said “innovation is expensive”, especially when it comes to “finding the human body”. (Thielking, 4/9)

Columbus Dispatch: Ohio Lawmakers Hear Support For Prescription Price Transparency Bill

Calls intensified on Tuesday for the General Assembly to force more transparency from pharmaceutical intermediaries accused of billing Ohio’s Medicaid managed care plans for far more than they reimburse pharmacists. Ten witnesses – cancer patients, representatives from national consumer groups and others – appeared before the House government’s accountability and oversight committee to testify in support of Bill 479, which would require Pharmacy customers are informed and receive the cash price of drugs whenever it is cheaper than an insurance co-payment. (Schladen, 4/10)

Stat: More Lawmakers Questioning FDA Over Investigation of Floridians Importing Drugs

For the second time in recent months, congressional lawmakers are asking whether the Food and Drug Administration has overturned a policy that allows Americans to import drugs under certain circumstances. In a letter to the agency, lawmakers referred to a series of raids last year in which FDA investigators visited Florida stores with search warrants to warn homeowners that the importation of drugs from foreign countries is illegal. It’s the same series of research that prompted several senators last December to write to the FDA about any changes in its import policy. (Silverman, 4/10)

FiercePharma: Despite reports from Merck and Johnson & Johnson, net Pharma prices “likely won’t go down”: analyst

Are drug prices going down? Two major drugmakers have presented figures suggesting the industry is facing increased price pressure, but Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal remains skeptical. Johnson & Johnson recently reported that net prices fell 4.6% in 2017 after the company paid $ 15 billion in rebates and rebates. Merck said its net prices fell 1.9% last year. Of J&J’s disclosure, Gal wrote on Monday that he believed the situation “does not represent ‘real’ pressure on the industry, but rather company-specific circumstances.” (Sagonowsky, 4/10)

The Wall Street Journal: Tishman Speyer signs deal with Pfizer, secures $ 1.8 billion construction loan

Developer Tishman Speyer has entered into a major lease with pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. in its Hudson Yards tower and has secured financing to move forward with the $ 3.7 billion project, Tishman said. Pfizer signed a 20-year lease to occupy 15 floors of the Spiral, a 65-story skyscraper with cascading terraces. (Morris, 4/10)

Bloomberg: Novartis CEO Boosts Rare Disease Change with $ 8.7 Billion Deal

Novartis AG has agreed to acquire AveXis Inc. for $ 8.7 billion to acquire a promising drug to treat a rare disease affecting infants, thereby accelerating the transition to gene therapy and precision drugs. Shareholders of the Bannockburn, Illinois-based company will receive $ 218 per share in cash as part of a take-over bid, Novartis said in a statement Monday. The price is 88% higher than when AveXis closed on Friday. (Kresge and Serafino, 4/9)

Stat: Biotech veterinarian David Hung erases Axovant from his professional history

Dr David Hung has had a distinguished career in biotechnology, presiding over the development of a successful cancer drug and toppling a $ 14 billion company. But the final act, in which he led an Alzheimer’s start-up through catastrophic failure, is one he’d like to skip. Maybe that’s why Hung deleted him from his LinkedIn profile. (Guard, 4/10)

FierceHealthcare: State solutions to lower drug prices face strong resistance from pharmaceutical industry

According to experts, there are many ways to fight rising drug prices, provided they are not blocked by industry first. Even as states increasingly take drug pricing legislation, they have been blocked by drug companies in court, said Jane Horvath, senior policy researcher at the National Academy for State Health Policy, in ‘a forum organized in Washington by the Institute for Health Policy of Kaiser Permanente. . “There is a whole constellation of problems or obstacles to overcome, which is why the state’s drug pricing policy seems foolish and just plain foolish,” Horvath said. (Minemyer, 4/9)

Kaiser Health News: How a drugmaker turned the abortion pill into a rare disease profit machine

Even though the $ 550 yellow pills sold under the Korlym name have a controversial origin as an abortion pill, Leslie Edwin says they “gave me life.” The 40-year-old Georgian resident lives with Cushing’s syndrome, a life-threatening condition that causes high levels of the hormone cortisol, which wreaks havoc in the body. When first diagnosed, she said, she gained around 100 pounds, her blood sugar was “out of control” and she suffered from acne, inability to sleep and constant anxiety. “I wouldn’t leave the house,” Edwin said of her. first fight with the condition. “I quit my job after a certain point. I just couldn’t continue to be in front of people. (Tribble, 4/10)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of coverage of health policies by major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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