Drugmakers breathed a sigh of relief when the courts decided against the HHS rule that television ads would be required to include the price of a 30-day supply of the advertised drug. President Trump indicated he would make a move to help the USA pay similar prices to other nations for drug coverage. A new study shows that 340B participating hospitals are pocketing the difference between what insurers will pay and their actual cost for 20 drugs. This and more in this week’s Innovation Partners BioBlog, your source for the latest headlines from the world of healthcare.
3 things to know as federal appeals court prepares to weigh in on ACA’s perilous future
The Fifth Circuit Court of New Orleans will hear oral arguments this week to determine if the 2017 rollback of the individual mandate invalidates the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA). Judge Reed O’Connor of Texas ruled that the ACA was unconstitutional after the repeal of the individual mandate back in December. The contentious debate continues, with the future of the ACA uncertain. The Trump Administration supports invalidating some parts of the law but keeping fraud enforcement clauses in effect.
Trump hints at executive order to create ‘favored nation’ clause to tie drug prices to low prices paid overseas
President Trump indicated that he will soon create and deliver an executive order to create ‘favored nation’ status to reduce American drug prices to the same rates as other countries pay. According to the President, some nations pay 60-70% less than America for the same medication. Details of the planned order are not available yet.
Roche pushes back Spark merger deadline as U.S., U.K. antitrust reviews drag on
Roche’s deal to merge with Spark Therapeutics has been pushed back to April 30, 2020. The $4.3 billion merger is under scrutiny from both U.S. and U.K. antitrust regulators. The U.S. regulators continue to push back against the merger, requesting additional reviews of information provided by the companies.
Knowing BRCA status associated with better breast cancer outcomes for women who decide against preventive surgery
A study by the University of Colorado Cancer Center and Shaarei Zedek Medical Center, Israel presented at the European Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting 2019 shows the importance of healthy women knowing their BRCA status, even when these women choose not to undergo prophylactic mastectomy. Currently, genetic screening is not recommended by any medical body in healthy Ashlenazi Jewish women without a strong family history of breast cancer. However, Ashkenazi Jewish women have a 1-in-40 chance of carrying the BRCA mutation and these BRCA-positive women have an 80 percent lifetime risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer. The survey’s leaders say that early screening may save lives and provide women with information to help them make important choices regarding their health.
Study finds hospitals continue to mark up medicines up to 500% of their cost
Hospitals are jacking up the prices of medicines by as much as 500%, a new study from the Moran Company finds. The study analyzed 20 medications acquired through the 340B program and found that even though hospitals receive a significant discount on those medicines as part of the program, they aren’t passing that discount to patients or insurers. Instead, they keep prices high and pocket the difference. The study also found that hospitals participating in 340B are actually providing less care to the needy over time.
Federal judge blocks HHS rule requiring list prices in drug TV ads
A federal judge blocked the HHS rule requiring list prices in drug TV ads. Merck & Co., Eli Lilly and Amgen, along with the Association of National Advertisers, led the fight against the new rule, which they claimed was both unnecessary and unlawful. The proposed rule required drug manufacturers that sell drugs covered by Medicare and Medicaid to include the cost for a typical course of treatment, such as a 30-day supply of medication for a chronic condition, in their TV ads. The judge stated that the HHS rule was outside the scope of what HHS can regulate.
Roche, Merck, Novartis and others hike prices on 83 meds starting in July: analyst
AbbVie, Roche’s Genentech, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi have raised prices on at least 83 medicines as of July. It is not uncommon for drug makers to raise prices in January and also in July. Last year, midyear price hikes received great media scrutiny. This year, far less attention seems to be focused on the price increases. As of July 2019, Novartis’ Sandoz raised prices on six products by 9.9%; AbbVie raised prices on blood cancer treatment Venclexta by 5%; Genentech raised prices on a range of products by 1.5% to 3%; Amneal instituted its own set of 9.9% price hikes; Eli Lilly raised prices for cancer drugs Cyramza, Alimta and Erbitux by 2.5%; and Merck raised prices on HIV therapy Insentress by 5%.