News & Views: 3/30 - 4/5

April 6, 2021

Democrats are urging the Commerce Department to reverse a proposed Trump rule that would weaken march-in rights.

While the government has never used march-in rights to lower prescription drug costs, however advocates claim it is one of few guardrails that keep manufacturers from increasing prices even more than they already do. A group of 36 House and Senate democrats have signed onto letters urging the Commerce Department to reverse the rule, but opponents of march-in rights cite the law’s coauthors never intended for pharmaceutical pricing to be the intent of the law. To read the full article, click here.

The Congressional Research Service released a new report on ‘Drug Pricing and Intellectual Property: The Legislative Landscape for the 117th Congress”.

The report gives a thorough overview of legislative action on pharmaceutical intellectual property from the previous Congress.  The main focus of the report is on pharmaceutical patenting reform legislation, particularly on industry tactics such as evergreening, product hopping, patent thickets, and pay-for-delay agreements. Also discussed are exclusivity reforms, government directed price regulations and intellectual property limitations, and COVID-19 related legislation.  To read the full report, click here.

The National Association of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions surveyed employers on health benefits, equity, and reform.

In March of 2021, the National Alliance surveyed 151 employers and purchasers from a wide range of industries and of varying sizes. When asked about health benefits strategies, the survey found that 80% of employers use or plan on using medication therapy management, 74% of employers are considering transparent/pass-through pricing for pharmacy drugs and 66% of medical drugs;68% emphasized biosimilars as an initial option. The survey also found that 87%of employers feel that drug price regulations would be very or somewhat helpful, when asked about health reform. To review the survey results, click here.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health published an analysis of copayment offsets of prescription drugs in JAMA.

The study sought to examine the drugs most commonly covered by copay offsets, the percentage of the out-of-pocket costs that are covered by the offsets, and characteristics of the patients using copay offsets in retail pharmacies. Of the pharmacy claims examined, approximately half the offsets were from pharmacy-PBM arrangements and the other half were offered by the manufacturers, while all the offsets resulted insignificant out-of-pocket savings they were concentrated among few drugs. To read the full study, click here.

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