Study: Drug Copay Cards A Bad Idea In The Long Term
Overall drug copay coupons can benefit patients, but they often increase how much employers and insurers end up paying, a new study says. Altria's investment in Juul, the FDA review of Mirati's lung cancer drug, and the finances of current public biotech firms are also in the news.
The Growing Evidence Against Drug Copay Cards
Drug copay coupons make medications free or very cheap for patients at the pharmacy counter. But they drastically increase the amounts paid by employers, insurers and other workers, a new study conducted by a trio of health economists concludes. The study adds further evidence to the idea that drug copay cards are a great short-term deal for patients — and especially the pharmaceutical companies that promote them — but a bad long-term deal for society. (Herman, 2/15)
In other pharmaceutical industry news —
The Wall Street Journal:
Altria Can Keep Its Investment In Juul, Judge Rules
Altria Group Inc. didn’t break antitrust laws when it took a large stake in e-cigarette startup Juul Labs Inc. in 2018, an administrative law judge ruled. The Federal Trade Commission sued two years ago to unwind the deal, saying the Marlboro maker had violated antitrust laws. Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell, who presided over a three-week trial last summer, dismissed the FTC’s claims Tuesday, Altria said. (Maloney, 2/15)
FDA Reviewing Mirati's Lung Cancer Drug — But Taking Longer To Do It
Mirati Therapeutics said Tuesday that U.S. regulators accepted an application for its KRAS-blocking lung cancer drug, but the review time will be longer than hoped. The Food and Drug Administration granted a standard review to the Mirati drug called adagrasib, which sets the approval decision date on Dec. 14 — four months later than the company had requested. A Mirati spokesperson said the FDA did not offer the company an explanation for why adagrasib won’t be reviewed under a shortened priority review schedule. (Feuerstein, 2/15)
Some Newly Public Biotechs Are Trading Below Cash. Is It As Bad As It Looks?
More than one in four biotechs that went public in 2020 are trading below cash, according to a new STAT analysis of data from the financial database provider Sentieo. The indicator — which means a company has more cash on hand than its overall public valuation — seems like further, glaring evidence that too many biotechs raced to market in 2020, a favorite hypothesis among investors whose life science portfolios have plummeted this year. “For a company to trade below cash is like the investing equivalent of having a very bad credit score. It is a sign that investors believe you are headed towards trouble and are at a risk of being unable to create any value for your investors,” said investor Brad Loncar. (Sheridan, 2/16)