The Week in Review in Drug Pricing

Lies, deceit, and cartels! 

Welcome to the week in review in prescription drug pricing!

1. The gift that keeps on taking

An investigation into patient assistance programs reveals the truth. They are a tool used by Big Pharma to drive up drug prices and keep cash flowing in. — (KARE11

2. Former pharma exec makes jaw-dropping admission

Matt Eyles, the head of AHIP and former VP for Pfizer said “I sat in many pricing committee discussions; not once did anyone ever say ‘How much did we spend on research and development?'’” We can't even.  — (Axios)

3. Murky money grab

Pharma sets drug prices super high. The middleman get really really rich. Patients get squeezed. Ohio reporters question our broken system.  — (Columbus Dispatch)

4. Insulin cartel deserves a red card

The unjust and seemingly coordinated insulin price hikes have driven people on both sides of the aisle to demand answers. Congress must investigate the insulin drug cartel.— (The Hill

5. Pharma pumps up stocks with corporate tax break cash

A new report by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) says billions in tax cuts have been used to fatten pharma shares, not lower prescription drug prices. Womp womp. — (Report)

Heads up: 

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter Friday calling for a federal investigation into “pay for delay” deals of biosimilar drugs. Bipartisan ❤️ for lower drug prices.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


The Week in Review in Drug Pricing

Are “massive” drug price cuts around the corner? Novartis raises drug prices. And the CREATES Act jumps a key hurdle.

Welcome to the week in review in prescription drug prices.

1. Negotiating price cuts?

Pharma CEOs coughed on their Champagne when President Donald Trump said that major drugmakers would announce “massive” drug price cuts in mid-June. HHS officials have been making calls and meeting with pharma to push for price cuts. The government negotiating with drug companies is a good thing. Time for Medicare to do the same. — (The Hill) 

2. Eli Lilly CEO says patients are “suffering”

If only he was the CEO of a major drug company who could do something about it. — (MSNBC)

3. Novartis raises the roof drug prices

Drug giant Novartis raised the prices of four drugs: Promacta, Mekinist, Tafinlar and Kisqali. If you’re keeping track, Novartis previous raised the price of Promacta in January.— (Politico

4. CREATES jumps a key hurdle

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 15-6 to move forward the CREATES Act, a bill to police abuses by brand-name drugmakers that stall generics from hitting the market. The forward movement marked a small and rare victory for patients from the nation’s capital. Kudos to Chairman Grassley and Senator Leahy for their leadership. — (STAT

5. This is not what we meant by transparency in drug pricing

BIO conference guests are partying with topless dancers while everyday Americans can’t afford their prescription drugs. So there’s that. — (Washington Examiner)

Have a great weekend!


Statement on CREATES Act Passing Senate Judiciary Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Patients For Affordable Drugs NOW applauded and thanked the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing the bipartisan CREATES Act — a bill that aims to lower drug prices by speeding generics to market. In response to the committee voting 16 to 5 to move the bill for consideration by the full Senate, Executive Director Ben Wakana issued the following statement:

“Months of intense opposition from Big Pharma could not kill this bill, and nothing will stop patients from demanding solutions like the CREATES Act to lower drug prices. Chairman Grassley, Senator Leahy, and all committee members voting yes deserve credit for fighting for patients today. Drug corporations should stop safeguarding bad actors and instead focus on getting affordable medicine to Americans who need it.”


  • The CREATES Act (S. 974 and H.R. 2212) would stop big drug companies from blocking competition by refusing to allow their brand name drugs to be used in testing needed to get approval for generic competitors. If passed, patients would get access to lower-priced generic drugs faster.
  • Eighty six organizations representing patients, doctors, the research and development community, and large employers sent letters urging Congress to pass the CREATES Act.
  • The Congressional Budget Office estimated the CREATES Act would save taxpayers $3.8 billion over ten years.
  • In May, the FDA released a list of more than 50 drug makers accused by generic drug corporations of stalling providing samples that would increase competition and lower prices. According to Kaiser Health News, the drug makers on the FDA’s list are also responsible for double-digit percentage price hikes since 2012, which cost Medicare and Medicaid nearly $12 billion in 2016.
  • The pharmaceutical lobby amped up lobbying to $25 million last year and continues to oppose the CREATES Act despite calls from Scott Gottlieb, conservative groups like FreedomWorks, and Harvard academics to end REMS abuses.

The Week in Review in Drug Pricing

Drug prices crush seniors with rationed pill stashes. Sen. Claire McCaskill sends the Sunshine Act to CrossFit classes. And dry eye patent rental gives judges whiplash.

Welcome to the week in review in prescription drug prices!

1. Skimping not saving

Seniors aren’t filling prescriptions as often, and they’re being crushed by drug prices nonetheless. — (Associated Press)

2. Will the Sunshine Act hit the gym?

Sen. Claire McCaskill wants to strengthen the Sunshine Act. Now, a federal database launched in 2014 reports payments drug and device makers make to physicians. The lawmaker’s bill would additionally require drug makers to report payments made to patient advocacy groups and professional societies. Sounds good to us! — (STAT)

3. Resurrection

The CREATES Act is back from the dead—again, maybe. The long-stalled measure with wide bipartisan support would bring generic drugs to market faster and lower drug prices. Sadly, it’s being used in a weird, complex game of donut hole dodgeball. — (STAT)

4. Remember the time...

Remember that one time Allergan tried to skirt patent law by selling its patents on the dry eye drug Restasis to an American Indian tribe? In case you forgot, here’s where the case stands and a brief history of the company’s nefarious moves. — (Bloomberg)

5. Hike one, Hike two

Bayer Pharmaceutical just hiked the list prices of two cancer drugs more than $1,000 per month. It’s the second price increase for the two drugs in six months. Those private CEO flights and steak dinners don’t pay for themselves. — (Washington Post)

The Week in Review in Drug Pricing

Pharma drinks from both sides of the trough. The little-known trick Medicare beneficiaries can use to save cash. And a CVS insider blows the whistle on a major alleged rip-off.

Welcome to the week in review in prescription drug pricing!

1. Both sides of the trough

As taxpayers we all pay for research into new drugs at the National Institutes of Health. Then we all pay again when we buy the drugs. — (NYT

2. (Don’t) gag me

Medicare beneficiaries might score a better deal for prescriptions if they ask for the cash price — but they have to know to ask. — (NPR)

3. Doing just fine

Those health care CEOs. Just fine. — (AP)

4. Let Gottlieb be your guide

The commish furnishes guidance to make it easier for generics to enter the drug market. But we still need Congress to pass CREATES. — (FierceHealthcare

5. We will watch this suit carefully!

If CVS whistleblower claims are true, it explains why PBMs prefer secrecy.  — (WKYC3)

Have a great weekend, everyone!