News & Views: 5/11 - 5/17

May 18, 2021

Ten House Democrats have urged Speaker Pelosi to seek more bipartisan measures to lower drug prices.

The moderate Democrats who signed the letter urged Speaker Pelosi to focus on affordability for patients rather than prices as a whole. All of the representatives who signed onto the letter have previously voted in favor of H.R. 3 twice, however the Democrats now only have a four-seat margin in the House. While there were no explicit demands in the letter, it focuses on the need to find a balance between innovation and affordability for patients. To read the full letter, click here.

HRSA has threatened large drug manufacturers with fines if they do not provide 340B discounts to contract pharmacies.

The letters were sent to AstraZeneca, Lilly USA, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, and United Therapeutics. HRSA is threatening to fine the manufacturers up to $5,000 per overcharge if they do not start offering discounts and refund the overcharges from the past year of limiting 340B discounts. The letters were issued nearly five months after the advisory opinion requested manufacturers stop curtailing 340B discounts. Even with the threat of significant fines and required refunds, drug manufacturers have not made any statements changing their position on the 340B program. To read the full article, click here.

The Multilateral Pharmaceutical Merger Task Force is seeking public comments on how to best update their approaches to analyzing the impact of pharmaceutical mergers.

The Task Force, which was created back in March 2021, was created to identify concreate and actionable steps to review and update the analysis of pharmaceutical mergers, according to the FTC. The working group was created to specifically address the anticompetitive concerns of mergers and acquisitions. To submit a public comment, click here.

Minnesota lawmakers introduced a bill that would expand access and coverage to biosimilars.

The bill would prohibit state health plans and PBMs from making pharmacies and physicians favor brand name biologics over safe generic biosimilar products. The bill would also require the state commissioner of health to submit a report on the impact that the bill had on net prices, by payer, for branded biologics and biosimilars by the end of 2023.To read the full bill, click here.

CIDSA Experts in the News

Rena Conti and Richard Frank coauthored, along with Leslie Dach from Families USA, an op-ed on how H.R. 3 will not impact the future of innovative drugs. The authors argued that making drugs accessible today will not impact the innovation of tomorrow. One study cited found that the pharmaceutical industry is the most profitable industry across all sectors; the industry can face significant reduction in profits, maintain current research and development into new cures, and still be the most profitable industry. To read the full op-ed, click here.

Richard Frank highlighted how the government made the COVID-19 vaccine possible with private drug manufacturers in a Health Affairs blog post. While the pharmaceutical industry takes full responsibility for the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, Frank argued that without significant federal support, the success of the vaccine would not have been possible. The federal government is responsible for funding of clinical trials, manufacturing, and large-scale procurement of the vaccines, which made the effort so successful. To read the full post, click here.

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