Drug costs are in the spotlight this week from many quarters. First, drugmakers called out by the Trump Administration for blocking generics are also included in a Kaiser Health study that found that they increased prices by double digits since 2012. The so-called ‘right to try’ bill passed the House and awaits President Trump’s signature, paving the way for more patients with life-threatening conditions to try non-FDA approved treatments. UnitedHealthcare has built a new partnership with Quest Diagnostics around value-based lab treatments and much more in this week’s Innovation Partners BioBlog.


Drugmakers Blamed For Blocking Generics Have Jacked Up Prices And Cost U.S. Billions

A Kaiser Health study found that several drug companies have increased prices by double digits since 2012 and cost Medicare and Medicaid $12 billion in 2016. The Trump Administration recently called out these companies by name, blaming them for blocking lower cost generic drugs.
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Congress passes ‘right-to-try’ measure, sending hard-fought bill to Trump’s desk

The United States House voted to approve a “right to try” measure this week giving patients the right to try medications not yet approved by the FDA if they have life-threatening conditions. The House passed the legislation 250-169 and it now awaits President Trump’s signature. Trump has been an ardent supporter. This new law could clear the way for drugmakers to provide patients with life-threatening illnesses access to additional treatments.
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Pfizer Settles Kickback Case Related To Copay Assistance For $24M

Drug company Pfizer has agreed to pay the government nearly $24 million as part of a settlement to resolve allegations that it funneled money through a foundation resulting in illegal kickbacks. According to the settlement, from 2012 through 2016, Pfizer made donations to the Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation, a copay assistance nonprofit organization, and then used a specialty pharmacy to steer Medicare patients taking its drugs toward the foundation to cover their copays. The company admits no wrongdoing but agrees to pay the settlement fees.
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Community Oncology Alliance Supports Bipartisan “Phair Pricing”PBM Reform Act

The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) announced strong support for H.R. 5958, the “The Phair Pricing Act of 2018” introduced by Representatives Doug Collins(R-Ga.) and Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas). This bipartisan bill is intended to ensure that the savings that pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) negotiate are passed along to patients at the point-of-sale. The current complex and opaque nature of PBM contracts means that savings are often obscured and not passed along to patients.
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Benefit Change Could Raise Costs For Patients Getting Drug Copay Assistance

New copay accumulator plans are wreaking havoc with patients’ budgets, especially for those on expensive maintenance medications. For such patients, the high cost of medications intended to treat multiple sclerosis and other chronic, serious conditions is no longer softened by insurance companies. Instead, companies are changing the rules and pushing payments back onto patients. A look at how benefits changes are changing drug copay assistance.
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UnitedHealthcare taps Quest Diagnostics for value-based lab testing

UnitedHealthcare is forging a new partnership with Quest Diagnostic to further their emphasis on value-based care. The partnership will cover a variety of value-based programs for lab testing and seeks to eliminate or reduce unnecessary lab testing. Also, beginning January 1, Quest will become an in-network partner for 48 million people covered under UnitedHealthcare policies.
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