News & Views: 10/19 - 10/25

October 26, 2021

A few moderate senators continue to block Medicare negotiation.

Sens. Sinema (D-AZ), Carper (D-DE), Coons (D-DE), and Menendez (D-NJ) have all stated opposition against the House’s plan to allow the government to negotiate drug prices. The senators all come from states which are home to both small biotech companies and large brand drug manufacturers. They have all voiced different concerns over the policy, including that it will hurt innovation, particularly for small biotech companies, that not all drugs should be subject to negotiation, and that the savings from any drug policy should be going directly to the consumers. All of the holdouts have also received sizable donations from the industry. To read the full article, click here.

  • To read more on the pharmaceutical industry’s donations, click here.

Senator Wyden (D-OR) asked CMS to investigate the impact the PBM fees have on independent pharmacy closures.

The request was in response to Bi-Mart, a pharmacy located in the Northwest, announcing the closure of 56 pharmacies. Consequently, Sen. Wyden has requested CMS to review all pharmacy closures over the past five years while focusing on how PBM fees have instigated them. To read the full press release, click here.

Mark Cuban and PBGH are trying to lower drug costs by creating PBMs to compete in a consolidated market.

The two groups are launching separate PBMs, and both claim that they will offer transparent pricing, unlike the existing PBMs. Both groups allege that they will bring more transparency to the industry that is notoriously not. Mark Cuban’s company has stated that they will pass along 100% of the rebates and charge a flat administrative fee; PBGH’s PBM, EmsanaRx will charge 1.5% for legal, administrative, and data sharing services and pass along the rest of the rebates. To read the full article, click here.

CIDSA Experts in the News

Rena Conti and Mariana Socal spoke with reporters from Marketplace on the federal pharma ingredient stockpile that is under construction in Virginia. The stockpile is intended to reduce reliance on having to import ingredients to common generics and over-the-counter drugs. To read the full article, click here.

Stacie Dusetzina coauthored a JAMA viewpoint on how to reduce health disparities with researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The authors highlight the significant disparity in access to high-quality medications among racial and ethnic minority groups. In order to achieve pharmacoequity, the researchers call for universal, low-cost prescription drug coverage. To read the full viewpoint, click here.

Rachel Sachs spoke to reports at Fact Checker on misleading Medicare negotiation ads by PhRMA. The ads being run claim that Medicare negotiation will reduce access to patients’ prescribed medications. Sachs explained that the negotiations would be based on prices that the companies are receiving in other countries where they still make a profit. To read the full article, click here.

Ameet Sarpatwari spoke with reporters at Bloomberg Law on increasing biosimilar competition. In response to the first interchangeable biosimilar for AbbVie’s Humira, Sarpatwari admits that this is an important step forward by the FDA but that there must also be an effort upstream to get the interchangeable products in the market. He points that that “if they can’t, the interchangeability status is sort of a moot point.” To read the full article, click here.

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