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News & Views: 5/29 - 6/5

July 6, 2021

Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) introduced legislation to help nonprofit pharmaceutical companies succeed.

The bill addresses barriers that the nonprofit pharmaceutical sector have struggled with historically. In addition to creating guidance for the IRS to classify qualified pharmaceutical companies as nonprofits, the bill will also create new loans and authorize a cooperative funding program. To read the full press release, click here.

A group of 28 attorneys general have called upon Congress to restore the FTC’s financial restitution power.

In April 2021, the Supreme Court ruled against the FTC in AMG Capital Management v FTC, stating that while the FTC can stop anticompetitive behavior, they may no longer require the companies to payback any illegal profits. While the pharmaceutical industry was not directly related to this Supreme Court case, they are the industry most likely to benefit the most off of this ruling. The bipartisan group of attorneys general cited $2.4 billion that the agency could have returned to consumers since the Court’s ruling in late April. To read the letter, click here.  

The Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments for the 340B hospital reimbursement cuts.

In 2018, the Trump administration authorized significant cuts to Medicare reimbursements for 340B drugs through outpatient sites. While national groups, such as AHA and AAMC, sued almost immediately after the rule was finalized and won at a district court level, the decision was reversed by the US Court of Appeals for DC. The Supreme Court will likely hear arguments later this year or early next year. To read the full article, click here.

Patients for Affordable Drugs (P4AD) released a new report on Big Pharma’s influence over patient advocacy groups.

The report traces money between drug companies and national patient groups that claim to speak on behalf of patients. Out of the 15 major patient groups that the report analyzed, only one fully disclosed the total funding from the pharmaceutical industry. The report also found that while the groups support lowering out-of-pocket costs for patients, none have supported Medicare negotiation in the past two years, even though it is a widely supported policy by the public. To read the full report, click here.

Walmart announced the launch of the first private brand analog insulin that will offer a steep discount for patients.

The insulin, ReliOn NovoLog, is expected to retail at $72.88 per vial and $85.88 per FlexPen pack, savings from branded competitors are expected to be as much as $101 and $251, respectively. Walmart has worked directly with Novo Nordisk to make sure patients will receive discounts directly from the manufacturer and has assured the public that it will be the “same product, same quality, same safety, same efficacy” as the other analog insulins currently on the market. To read the full press release, click here.

Researchers at the University of Zurich and Harvard Medical School analyzed the launch prices, post-approval price changes, and clinical benefits of cancer drugs in the US and Europe in a recent JAMA article.

The study compared 65 drugs and found that the median monthly treatment costs were more expensive in 2018-2019 than 2009-2010 for all countries. Over the full study period (2009-2019), nearly 75% of the drugs had price increases greater than inflation in the US compared to only 1 in England, 0 in Germany, and 7 in Switzerland. To read the full study, click here.

Researchers from USC compared spending on common generic drugs between Medicare beneficiaries and Costco members in JAMA research letter.

Recent reports have found that new intermediaries, such as Costco, are able to make substantial profits off of the generic supply chain. Researchers found that Medicare paid billions more on common generic drugs than Costco for 43% of the drugs included in the study. If Medicare had paid the same as Costco for all 184 drugs, Medicare beneficiaries could have saved $2.6 billion in 2018. To read the full study, click here.

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