Perspectives: Don’t Let Those Small Increases In Drug Prices Fool You. Patients Are Still Being Gouged.
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
How Allergan Continues To Make Drug Prices Insane
Jan. 1 isn't just a day for making New Year's resolutions and watching football. It's also become the day when the pharmaceutical industry unveils price increases, more or less en masse. The good news, as a number of pharma and biotech analysts have noted, is that the increases for 2018 are smaller than in the past. According to Deutsche Bank's Gregg Gilbert, between 2013 and 2015 — that is, before Martin Shkreli jacked up the price of an AIDS drug from $13.50 to $750 a pill and made rising drug prices a national issue — the cost of drugs was rising more than 20 percent a year. ... In recent years, however, most price hikes have been in the single digits; they averaged 7.2 percent in 2017, for instance. That's a whole lot better than a 20 percent rise. Still, even these smaller price hikes mean that many patients are being gouged. ... Which brings me to the current poster boy for patent abuse, Allergan Inc. In 2017 it made news with its outrageous attempt to protect its dry-eye medication Restasis from generic competition by transferring its patent rights to a sovereign Native American tribe. (Joe Nocera, 1/8)
How Much Is Your Eyesight Worth To You?
Spark Therapeutics recently launched a pioneering new drug that can improve the vision of patients with a rare hereditary form of vision loss. That’s not the only thing that is pioneering about this drug, called Luxturna. Its price is, too. Spark announced this week that treatment will cost $850,000 a patient. “We believe that price reflects the type of life-altering value we’re seeing with Luxturna in clinical trials and will allow us to build on revolutionary science,” Spark Chief Executive Jeff Marrazzo told The Wall Street Journal. The company reportedly had considered setting the price even higher, at $1 million. (1/4)
Celgene's Deal Won't Move The Dial
Last year was solid for the biotech sector generally -- but shaky for industry bellwether Celgene Corp. The company will have a chance, as it kicks off JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s annual biopharma confab this week, to give investors reason to hope 2018 will be different. (Max Nisen, 1/8)
2017 Was A Banner Year For Innovation. But Will It Be Short-Lived?
2017 was an extraordinary year in the history of medicine. It was the year when scientists beat cancer, and U.S. regulators approved the first therapy to fix a faulty gene. It was also a year that kept us enthralled with a quickening drumbeat of breathtaking news detailing spectacular advances – trials seemingly curing patients of hemophilia A and sickle cell anemia, and breakthroughs raising similar hopes for Huntington’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and even HIV. What is remarkable about these successes is that they are not just lucky breaks, but the products of new technologies that are ushering us into a new therapeutic space of vastly expanded possibilities. (Bernard Munos, 1/4)
Biotech Fumbles The Start Of Its Biggest Showcase
Day one of the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference -- typically the biotech industry's biggest showcase of the year -- was something of a dud. The Nasdaq Biotech Index (NBI) fell as much as 2 percent on Monday. That's not a rout, but it is a disappointment. (Max Nisen, 1/9)
Same-Old Drug Advertising Ban Proposal Would Fail For The Same-Old Reasons
As the country debates the best path forward for the nation’s healthcare system, interest groups continue to advance different ideas to address their pet causes. One popular cause is the reduction of drug prices. Though that debate often occurs based on narrow perceptions of the dollar figures at issue, ideas for price reduction are worthy of consideration, especially given the increasing budgetary percentage that government and personal spending healthcare now occupies. One drug-price-reduction idea advanced toward the end of last year, however, should be vigorously opposed. (Greg Herbers, 1/4)