The report found that taxpayers could have saved over $25 billion from 2014 to 2018 if as few as seven drugs were eligible for Medicare negotiation. This staff report was the latest in the Committee’s investigation into the pharmaceutical industry’s pricing and business practices. Of the seven drugs, three were commonly used insulin products, Lantus, NovoLog, and Humalog; the three insulin products alone could have saved more than $16.7 billion between 2011-2017 if the Secretary of HHS had the ability to negotiate lower prices for seniors. To read the full report, click here.
HRSA informed the six companies, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, and United Therapeutics, that the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) will now be handling their cases. The companies have continued to refuse 340B discounts for contract pharmacies owned by hospitals. The OIG involvement in the cases is likely to result in a favorable opinion for upcoming court cases so that HHS no longer needs to rely solely on guidance to enforce 340B discounts. To read the 340B Health press release on the notice, click here.
While this was found to be in line with a previous poll conducted in March 2021, the percentage of households earning less than $24,000 a year who could not afford their prescriptions rose from 10% to 19%. The survey also reported that households with adults younger than 65 have a harder time paying for their medications than seniors (8% compared to 4%, respectively). To review all of the survey findings, click here.
The article focused on the Members of Congress and drug pricing advocates who claim that the patent system needs to be restructured to prevent large brand manufacturers from gaming the patent system. Most notably, the USPTO must review the policies on discretionary denials of inter partes review (IPR), which are petitions that challenge existing patents. In a previous letter from key Senators, they cited the “disturbing rise in discretionary denials of IPR petitions.” The increase in IPR denials makes it easier for brand manufacturers to create patent thickets that only become harder for generic and biosimilar companies to fight. To read the full article, click here.
Ge Bai and Stacie Dusetzina were guest speakers on The Price We Pay, a health care podcast series. The podcast episode discussed why the US pays, on average, 2.5 times more than other countries for the same medicines. Specifically, the experts discussed where the money goes and why this only occurs in the US. To listen to the full podcast, click here.