January 9, 2018
RunawayRx's Dose of Reality series helps keep the public up-to-date on pharma's latest drug pricing schemes and major happenings around the industry. And, i n typical fashion, drug companies have started the new year just as they have many others -- by  raising drug prices. The following articles have more:
Pharma has kicked off the new year with its most expensive drug yet: a therapy to treat a rare form of blindness that will cost $850,000. The drug, called Luxturna, was originally rumored to potentially be the first million dollar drug, which has led Spark, the creators of the drug, to consider the exorbitant price a bargain:

"We wanted to balance the value and the affordability concerns with a responsible price that would ensure access to patients," said CEO Jeffrey Marrazzo, in an interview with The Associated Press.

Read AP's full report on Luxturna here.

"The amount of money people spend on prescription drugs has nearly doubled over the past three decades as pharmaceutical sales and profit margins have ballooned, according to a government report...

"Drug companies raise prices far exceeding inflation because they can," said Scott Knoer, chief pharmacy officer at Cleveland Clinic. "In the absence of regulation and without consumer awareness-since consumers don't generally see the price due to insurance-the sky is the limit." Ultimately, all of these costs are passed on to the government, insurance companies, patients and taxpayers, he added." 

Read more here.

"Prices for a cancer drug called lomustine have skyrocketed nearly 1,400 percent since 2013, putting a potentially life-saving treatment out of reach for patients suffering from brain tumors and Hodgkin's lymphoma. Though the 40-year-old medication is no longer protected by patents, no generic version is available." 

Read more here
STAT: Several drug makers just raised their prices by nearly 10 percent, and buyers expect more price hikes

"Several drug makers celebrated the new year with substantial single-digit price hikes, while a new survey indicated that prices for brand-name medicines are expected to rise 3 percent to 4 percent annually over the next three years.

"Leading the way among drug makers was Allergan (AGN), which boosted the list prices for 18 medicines by 9.5 percent... several other companies similarly raised list prices on various medicines between 8 percent and 9 percent, including Amgen (AMGN), Biogen (BIIB), Horizon Pharma (HZNP), Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA), Insys Therapeutics (INCY), Collegium Pharmaceuticals (COLL), Supernus Pharmaceuticals (SUPN), and Synergy Pharmaceuticals (SGYP), according to reports from analysts at Jefferies and Cowen. Price hikes from still more companies may be disclosed in coming days."

Read more here.
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