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The Next Big Question Over Amazon’s Foray Into Prescription Drugs: What Will It Do About PBMs?

First Edition: July 13, 2018

Information retailers report on tales associated to pharmaceutical pricing.

Will Amazon Companion With PBMs, Or Search To Conquer Them?

Amazon’s buy of the web pharmacy PillPack answered long-lingering questions on whether or not and the way it will enter the prescription drug enterprise. However it additionally raised one other huge challenge: What will it do concerning the PBMs? Pharmacy profit managers are the businesses that stand in the midst of the nation’s provide chain for prescribed drugs. They administer drug advantages on behalf of employers and labor unions, and negotiate costs and reimbursements with drug makers and pharmacies that stand on both finish of these transactions. In different phrases, they management entry to the medicines and a whole lot of tens of millions of U.S. clients who take them. (Ross, 7/16)

In South Dakota, Opponents Of Drug-Pricing Poll Initiatives Declare Victory

An initiative that may have tried to cap drug costs in South Dakota was faraway from the statewide poll by a decide on Monday, the second time that a courtroom has prevented such a measure from going earlier than voters within the 2018 election. The ruling got here after a courtroom decided the measure’s supporters had improperly gathered a number of the signatures essential to qualify it for the poll, in accordance with the initiative’s biotech-backed opposition. (Facher, 7/17)

The Hill:
Dem Senator Calls For ‘Everlasting’ Worth Cuts At Pfizer

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) on Monday referred to as on pharmaceutical big Pfizer to “permanently roll back prices,” days after the corporate stated it will briefly postpone a deliberate worth hike. In a letter to Pfizer’s CEO Ian Learn, Baldwin stated the corporate must cease “playing games” with the prices of prescribed drugs. Pfizer as an alternative must “make a firm and clear commitment” to everlasting worth reductions, Baldwin wrote. (Weixel, 7/16)

Is Trump Reining In Drug Costs? We’re Preserving Monitor

As a candidate after which as president, Donald Trump has had a lot to say about how drug costs are uncontrolled and the way he plans to get them down. Drug corporations are “getting away with murder,” he stated in January 2017, promising to save lots of “billions” by means of higher negotiating. On Might 11, Trump referred to as his new drug worth plan “the most sweeping action in history.” And after Pfizer Inc. raised costs of lots of its merchandise this summer time, he tweeted on July 9: “We will respond!” (Langreth, Koons and Gu, 7/16)

On Drug Pricing, PhRMA Pushes For Decrease Funds To PBMs

The drug manufacturing business’s primary lobbying group is backing an enormous change to the best way prescribed drugs are priced, nevertheless it’s unclear how it will influence the business’s enterprise mannequin. At first look, it appeared like PhRMA is embracing one of many Trump administration’s largest concepts for addressing prescription drug costs — eliminating rebates that drug makers pay to pharmacy profit managers, the middlemen that negotiate drug costs on behalf of insurance coverage corporations. However in truth, PhRMA’s concept is obscure sufficient that it’s unclear precisely what it will do and whether or not it’s going to deliver down the worth of medicine for sufferers. (Swetlitz, 7/16)

Politico Professional:
PhRMA, Generic Drug Foyer Be a part of HHS’ Name For Overhauling Rebates

Main commerce teams for brand-name and generic drugmakers endorsed overhauling the drug rebate system as a solution to handle the excessive value of medicines, aligning themselves with HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s bid to vary business practices round drug reductions. Pharmacy advantages managers, wholesalers, pharmacies and different intermediaries within the drug provide chain shouldn’t be paid based mostly on a proportion of the record worth of medicines however might as an alternative get a flat payment, PhRMA stated in feedback on the Trump administration’s drug pricing blueprint submitted Monday. (Karlin-Smith, 7/16)

J&J Beats Quarterly Expectations On Drug Gross sales Surge, Shares Bounce

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday reported better-than-expected second quarter revenue as gross sales of prescription drugs surged 20 % regardless of a pointy decline in blockbuster arthritis drug Remicade, and its shares rose greater than four %. The healthcare conglomerate additionally expressed confidence that final week’s discovering by a Missouri jury that J&J’s talc-based merchandise brought on most cancers, and an order to pay a document $four.69 billion to defendants, wouldn’t stand. (7/17)

The Wall Road Journal:
Johnson & Johnson’s Pharma Enterprise Fuels Gross sales Progress

J&J’s pharmaceutical gross sales topped analysts’ expectations regardless of what executives stated was a continued decline in common internet U.S. pricing after reductions and rebates. Chief Monetary Officer Joe Wolk stated on a convention name with analysts that common U.S. internet pricing might decline four% to six% this yr, after a four.6% drop final yr. J&J shares surged four% to $128.65 in noon buying and selling after the earnings report, although the inventory continues to be down 7.9% yr thus far on buyers’ considerations about slower progress in different elements of J&J’s diversified enterprise, together with shopper merchandise. (Loftus and Prang, 7/17)

The Related Press:
Swiss Medicine Big Novartis Says Revenue Up As Spinoff Looms

Novartis says internet revenue rose three % within the second quarter amid robust progress for a few of its prime merchandise, because the Swiss prescription drugs big strikes to spin off its Alcon eye-care enterprise. New CEO Vas Narasimhan touted Novartis’ plans to create a “focused medicines company,” together with by means of the Alcon spinoff introduced in late June. (7/18)

Novartis Blockbuster Drug Rebounds, Easing Generics Strain

Novartis on Wednesday lowered its outlook for its Sandoz generics enterprise, saying it expects a low-single digit decline in gross sales for the yr. The firm stated earlier this yr that the unit’s income can be broadly according to the earlier yr or drop barely. It raised its forecast for Alcon, saying it now expects mid-single digit progress in gross sales in 2018. The pharmaceutical big earlier this yr introduced the acquisition of rare-disease drugmaker AveXis Inc. for $eight.7 billion, and Narasimhan has stated he’s trying to focus Novartis’s gene-therapy program on most cancers, neuroscience and ophthalmology. (Paton, 7/18)

Hugin Punches Again Towards Menendez Over Data On Drug Costs

The drug business has formally taken middle stage in an more and more bitter Senate race in New Jersey between incumbent Bob Menendez and former Celgene CEO Bob Hugin. Final week, an advert marketing campaign excoriated Hugin for permitting Celgene to boost costs on medicine underneath his management. Now the Republican is putting again with a pharma-focused advert of his personal. (Facher, 7/16)

Martin Shkreli’s Drug Firm Is Dropping Cash, Paperwork Present

Martin Shkreli’s former firm is dropping cash, watching gross sales of its famously pricey drugs slip whereas contemplating yet one more identify change. Vyera Prescription drugs, previously referred to as Turing Prescription drugs, misplaced greater than $1 million within the first quarter of 2018, based on monetary paperwork obtained by STAT. Gross sales, pushed by the $750-a-pill Daraprim, have been on the wane over the previous two years, falling greater than 14 % in 2017 and on tempo to drop one other 7 % in 2018. (Garde, 7/17)

Growing Drug Costs ‘Makes Completely No Sense,’ Says Analyst

Some drug corporations have continued to extend costs regardless of rising public discontent, a transfer that senior fairness analyst Elliot Wilbur advised CNBC “makes absolutely no sense.” “It’s simply bad decision-making and terrible policy on [a drug company’s] part,” Wilbur, who focuses on prescription drugs at monetary agency Raymond James, stated Monday on “Power Lunch.” (Ell, 7/16)

The Baltimore Solar:
Maryland To Assist Retirees Pay Out-Of-Pocket Medicare Drug Prices After Protection Change

Maryland authorities retirees will get monetary help from the state to assist pay for drugs when their prescription drug protection strikes from a state plan to the federal Medicare Half D program subsequent yr. Gov. Larry Hogan and Common Meeting management introduced a one-year transition program during which the state will reimburse all out-of-pocket drug prices exceeding $1,500. That’s the restrict beneath the present state plan. The transfer to the federal prescription drug plan, which can happen Jan. 1, is a part of state pension reform handed in 2011. (McDaniels, 7/16)

Kaiser Well being Information:
Staggering Costs Sluggish Insurers’ Protection Of CAR-T Most cancers Remedy

Sufferers whose blood cancers have failed to answer repeated rounds of chemotherapy could also be candidates for a brand new sort of gene remedy that would ship their cancers into remission for years. However the two permitted therapies, with worth tags of lots of of hundreds of dollars, have roiled the insurance coverage approval course of, resulting in delays and, in some instances, denials of protection, clinicians and analysts say. (Andrews, 7/17)

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