Shifting Pharmaceutical Patents to Native American Tribes to Protect Intellectual Property, Shattering the Myth of the Cost of Cancer Drug Development, and More on the Innovation Partners Bio Blog
This week on the Bio Blog, the cost of drugs, especially cancer drugs, is in the spotlight. New evidence indicates that it costs millions, not billions, to produce new cancer medications. California is taking aim at the cost of prescription medicines through the passage of Senate Bill 17 on Monday which will give insurers the ability to negotiate lower costs. And companies such as Allergan are trying to reduce the threats from patent trolls and intellectual property suits by shifting IP rights into Native American tribes to avoid costly lawsuits. This and more provide a fascinating glimpse into this week’s health care stories.
Creating new cancer drugs is expensive – or is it? For many years, the standard figure of $2.7 billion per drug, provided by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, was cited as the average cost to develop a new cancer drug. However, a new study that examined 10 cancer medications found that the average development cost is actually $757 million per drug. About half cost less, and half cost more.
Instead of offering volume-based pricing, pharmaceutical companies increasingly are offering to tie a portion of their reimbursements from insurers to how well drugs work in patients. Last year, Merck & Co and Eli Lily & Co each agreed to pay back insurers if their diabetes drugs didn’t reduce patients’ blood sugar levels to pre-set targets. Outcomes-based or value-based pricing is gaining attention, especially in Washington.
The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) submitted a formal letter in support of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed changes to the 340B Drug Discount Program. 340B is included in the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment (HOPPS) rules for 2018. The letter explains why COA agrees with the CMS proposals relating to 340B in the HOPPS Proposed Rule.
In a surprising move, Botox Maker Allergan has sold their patents to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe for $13.75 million. The deal places the drug into the jurisdiction of a sovereign Indian Nation to ward off intellectual property challenges. The tribe’s deal grants Allergan exclusive rights to the drugs while gaining $15 million in revenues annually for the tribe from Restasis sales. Allergan blames so-called “patent trolls” for forcing this move to protect their intellectual property rights and patents.
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles compared 78 reviews on five popular physician review websites to clinical outcomes and found no correlation between positive reviews and actual performance. Patients are increasingly turning to online review sites for information when choosing a physician, but the sites are a poor indicator of actual outcomes.
New guidelines from the American Society of Clinical Oncology outlines proposed best practices for cancer clinicians to use when communicating with patients and loved ones. Strong patient-provider relationships provide better support for patients. The guidelines may be accessed here.