Perspectives: The Elephant In The Room When It Comes To High Cancer Drug Costs Needs To Be Addressed
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
The ‘Cancer Growing In Cancer Medicine’: Pharma Money Paid To Doctors
Americans are rightly furious about the high and unsustainable price of cancer drugs, which now routinely cost more than $100,000 per year of therapy. Those prices are made worse by the fact that most cancer drugs offer only modest benefits — one study put the median benefit at 2.1 extra months of life — along with the fact that expert physicians frequently recommend these drugs for off-label uses, meaning using a drug for a purpose it was not initially approved for. The House of Representatives, the Senate, presidential candidates, and even the president have floated proposals to tackle drug prices. While all contain good ideas, none address one of the elephants in the room: the experts who tell doctors how to use these medications. (Vinay Prasad, 10/30)
Another Chinese Threat To Our National Security: Prescription Drugs
The many threats from China have been well documented, including the growth and power of its military, its growth as a manufacturing and economic power, and its theft of intellectual property. However, China presents another threat to our national security, one that looms large and, for the most part, has flown under the radar with little attention: the Chinese manufacture of prescription drugs and its status as a supplier of active ingredients used in drug manufacture. (Tom Jurowsky, 10/28)
A Biotech Giant Not Named Biogen Also Had A Good Week
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., a nearly $50 billion biotech company that develops treatments for just one rare disease, is having a truly excellent week. On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration approved Trikafta — a highly effective triple combination of drugs for the chronic pulmonary ailment cystic fibrosis — five months ahead of schedule and just three months after Vertex submitted it to the agency. The approval was expected; the exceptional rapidity of it wasn’t. Then Thursday, Vertex announced that the U.K.’s National Health Service will finally cover all of the company’s treatments, resolving a years-long battle over the price of its drugs. Taken together, the good news helped drive up the shares more than 10%, putting the stock on track for its biggest weekly gain in almost a year. (Max Nisen, 10/25)
Lowering Drug Prices While Finding Cures. Can Both Be Done?
For eight years, Sara Stewart has taken her daughter, Maddie, to 13 departments in UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. First came the blood transfusions, then the hearing aids, insulin pumps, treatment for skin sensitivity and a variety of illnesses. The costs of the procedures and medications are astronomical for the mitochondrial disease, called Pearson syndrome, that saps 10-year-old Maddie of energy like “running an entire house on a AA battery,” said Ms. Stewart, of St. Petersburg, Pa., in Clarion County. (Daniel Moore, 10/28)
In Generic Drug Plants In China And India, Data Falsification Is Still A Problem
As the generic drug industry faces allegations of data manipulation, headlines about carcinogen-tainted blood pressure medicine, and an intensifying probe by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, whose health subcommittee is holding a hearing on Wednesday on safeguarding our global drug supply, generic drug industry lobbyists are fighting back. (Katherine Eban and Sony Salzman, 10/29)