December 12, 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.  Our most recent edition highlights patent abuse, the skyrocketing cost of insulin, Pfizer's price increases and the California law that made them public and more.

In a recent opinion piece from STAT, co-founder and co-executive director of I-MAK, Tahir Amin,  explains how pharma is taking advantage of the patent system to gain decades of protection ,  eliminat e competition and keep prices high. Amin highlights how drug makers seek patent exclusivity for minor, routine improvements, rather than new, groundbreaking inventions, granting them extended protections and the ability to set prices however they wish:     

"Why would a pharmaceutical company file so many patents after a drug is already on the market?  Quite simply to preserve and extend its ability to keep competition at bay while hiking prices...
"...patent reform can help boost competition and transparency and stop companies from dictating sticker-shock prices. There are too many stories of agonized patients struggling to afford treatment, forced to ration their medicine, and left to absorb the cost of high drug prices with their very own bodies."

Read more  here

RunawayRx: Insulin & the High Priced Drug Crisis 

November marked Diabetes Awareness Month, a time when Americans come together to raise awareness about diabetes and its growing impact on millions of individuals and families throughout the nation.

Today, nearly 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes and 7.4 million of them rely on insulin to survive.
RunawayRx's  new infographic  investigates the rising cost of this vital drug - providing an examination of how insulin prices have climbed and the serious impact on patients, families and the U.S. health care system as a whole.

Check out the full fact sheet  here.

The Wall Street Journal: Pfizer to Raise Prices on 41 Drugs in January

" Pfizer  Inc. plans to resume its practice of raising drug prices early next year...
" It said it would raise the list prices of 41 of its prescription drugs, or 10% of its portfolio, in January...
"It timed its announcement to its notification of insurers and state-run health plans in California that it was raising some prices, a person familiar with the matter said. Under  a 2017 California law , Pfizer had to give 60-day notice if it wanted to increase the prices of certain drugs by more than 16% over two years...
" Of the 41 price increases Pfizer announced, 23 met the California law's threshold, according to the person familiar with the matter. Most of the increases Pfizer plans in January will be 5%, though the company will raise three drugs' list prices by 3% and one drug's by 9%."

Read the full piece  here

STAT:   'A loss for the rest of us': An FDA approval is a boon for a drug maker, but could come at a major cost for patients

"[Vickie Moored] says she has her life back, thanks to the stunning efficacy of a cheap, but unapproved, chemical called 3,4-DAP. It's a medication she would not have but for the largesse of a tiny, family-run drug maker that has been giving it out, for free, for decades.

"But Moored, along with others who share her rare neuromuscular disorder, are concerned that their fortunes could change. The cost of the treatment will likely skyrocket - from next to nothing to potentially more than $100,000 without insurance - now that the Food and Drug Administration has approved a medicine to treat their disease, Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome...

" With an FDA approval in hand...Florida-based Catalyst Pharmaceuticals now has the ability to charge what could be hundreds of thousands of dollars  -  for a medicine that costs almost nothing to make. What's more: Catalyst could block older forms of the drugs from being given to patients, even though they didn't invent the formulation in the first place."

Read the full piece  here.

Los Angeles Times: Pfizer and Merck are raising drug prices again, showing that their price cuts were just a sham to mollify Trump

" You can probably tell what's coming.  Pfizer is moving ahead  with price increases, as is Merck, one of the other drugmakers that staged a theatrical price rollback. In both cases, they're exploiting loopholes that were really no secret...

" Merck, in its  July 20 announcement of price cuts , built itself a rather...elaborate loophole. The company said it would not increase the average net price of its entire portfolio of drugs by more than inflation annually. It dressed up the announcement by lowering the price of Zepatier, a hepatitis C treatment, by 60% and of six other drugs by 10%...

" Sharp-eyed critics noticed that Merck's commitment to hold price increases on its entire portfolio to the rate of inflation would allow it to jack up prices on its most profitable formulations and balance them with price cuts on its duds...
"What these actions by Pfizer and Merck tell us is that the drug industry's steps to cut prices are as evanescent as, well, a Trump tweet. The rollbacks this summer were 'window dressing'" 

Read the full piece  here

For the latest updates and information on the prescription drug pricing crisis, visit the RunawayRx website:
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