June 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 reveals the impact rising drug prices have on seniors and Medicare, the "BioBoom" price tag, and much more.
A report conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general revealed that Medicare Part D spending on brand name drugs grew more than 60 percent from 2011 to 2015. David Mitchell, founder of the advocacy group Patients for Affordable Drugs, says enough is enough and calls for change:

"Today's report from the HHS Inspector General makes it clear that list price increases on brand drugs are hurting patients. I heard this weekend from a California woman who reports she pays $500 - nearly half of her $1,200 per month income - to cover two maintenance drugs. We need action to lower pharma list prices now."

Read the full article  here
ABC News: Feds: Skimping can't save seniors from rising med cost

"Medicare recipients filled fewer prescriptions for pricey brand-name drugs - but spent more on such meds anyway, says a government report released Monday. It blames rising manufacturer prices for squeezing older people and taxpayers...

"'Increases in unit prices for brand-name drugs resulted in Medicare and its beneficiaries paying more for these drugs,' said the report. Rising Medicare payments for brand-name drugs 'will continue to affect Part D and its beneficiaries for years to come'...
" Drugmakers raised prices more rapidly for the most commonly used brand-name medications, with the highest demand among Medicare patients. Average costs for the 200 drugs with the most prescriptions in 2015 rose at nearly double the rate of increase for branded drugs as a whole ."
Read more  here .
WBUR: Affording Miracles: As biotech victories in gene therapy excite, costs spur quest for new ways to pay

"Biotech entrepreneurs talk confidently about conquering a long list of genetic disorders, from blood cancers and immune deficiencies to hemophilia and sickle-cell disease. Someday, they say, maybe they'll notch even major disorders, like diabetes and Alzheimer's.

"But a big problem looms over the 'BioBoom.' How will these miraculous new gene-based treatments be paid for? Steam is building behind efforts to devise radical new ways to price and pay for the expected cornucopia of new-age therapies. 

"The treatment that restored Jack Hogan's eyesight, called Luxturna, costs $850,000. That's an incredible $142,000 per drop -- just for the drug alone...

"Sticker shock is giving new urgency to an old question: Just how do pharmaceutical companies set the prices of their products?...

"To avoid either rationing or top-down price controls, it appears the wizards of the BioBoom will need to get as creative about paying for miracles as they are about inventing them."

Read more here.

STAT: Spending on cancer drugs in the U.S. has doubled in the last five years, and will double again

"Spending on cancer medicines in the U.S. has doubled since 2012, reaching nearly $50 billion last year, thanks to a recent rush of new treatments that were launched at high prices. And this may be only the beginning: Spending is expected to roughly double - to $100 billion - by 2022...

"The median annual cost of a new cancer drug launched in 2017 exceeded $150,000, compared to $79,000 for new drugs launched in 2013."

Read more  here

Washington Post : Two weeks after Trump unveiled plan to lower drug prices, two cancer drugs got a $1,000-per-month price hike

"Two weeks after President Trump in May unveiled a plan to lower drug prices for Americans, promising 'it will start to take effect very soon,' the drug company Bayer hiked the list prices of two cancer drugs by more than $1,000 per month...

"'We believe drug pricing remains a risk for the pharmaceutical industry,' [Wells Fargo analyst David] Maris wrote. 'The President has highlighted lowering the cost of healthcare as a key objective and we do not expect the negative commentary around the cost of medicines will soon subside'...
"Stivarga, which is used for patients with colorectal, liver and gastrointestinal cancers, now carries a list price of about $16,860 per month. Nexavar, used in kidney, liver and thyroid cancers, carries a list price of about $18,670 per month. The prices for both drugs are now both 13 percent higher than they were during 2017."

Read more  here
For the latest updates and information on the prescription drug pricing crisis, visit the RunawayRx website:
RunawayRx | (818) 760-2121 | info@runawayrx.org