April 27, 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 pharma's endless pricing tactics, a new analysis from Senator Corey Booker on drugmakers' tax windfalls, cancer drugs' rising prices but plateauing returns, and a new round of materials from RunawayRx to help shine a light on the country's high-priced drug crisis.  
A piece published this week in The Hill, authored by AARP CEO, Jo Ann Jenkins and American Hospital Association CEO, Rick Pollack urges readers to talk about what's really driving health care costs: Big Pharma.

"Drug costs are out of control precisely because drug companies are in control - from the launch price to each increase thereafter...

"With nine out of the ten leading pharmaceutical companies spending more on expenditures like advertising and marketing than on developing new drugs, the industry should work as hard at lowering the price listed outside of a medication bottle as it does trying to sell the product within it." 

Read the full op-ed  here
USA Today: Drug companies get tax windfall, but they're not reducing prescription prices

"Drug prices are a top pocketbook issue for Americans. President Trump understood that and campaigned on promises to bring down the cost of prescriptions. You'd think the massive tax cut he signed into law in December would be the perfect opportunity for drug companies to take some of their windfall and bring down those prices. But a new analysis shows that so far, you'd be wrong...
 
"Booker's office examined the 10 largest U.S. based pharmaceutical companies... and how they plan to use their tax windfalls. The study, based on 4th quarter earnings calls, press releases and public statements, shows that in its early days, the new tax law has been almost entirely a boon to shareholders. Five drug companies alone have announced $45 billion in stock buybacks - accounting for 21% of the largest stock buybacks announced this year...  
 
"So these companies reaped major windfalls from the new tax law and they could be spending it any way they want - keeping it for shareholders, reinvesting in research and development or, in a rare opportunity to help consumers without hurting shareholders, reversing this trend of constant price increases. The quickest way to reward shareholders is to announce stock buybacks, and for the most part that's what they did.
 
"What about drug prices? Booker's analysis suggests that nothing has been done."

Read more here
Reuters: As cancer drug prices climb, value not keeping pace

" The cost of new anti-cancer drugs increased more than five-fold from 2006 to 2015, but a new analysis suggests that cancer patients and insurers may be getting less for their money...

" The average monthly cost of oncology drugs increased from $7,103 in 2006 to $15,535 in 2015, they found. And the incremental cost of new drugs - meaning the difference in cost between a full course of treatment with the new medication and a course of treatment with the older medication it was intended to replace - increased from $30,447 in 2006 to $161,141 in 2015...

"Pricing of new cancer drugs is "very much what we call a black box," [ Dr. Len Lichtenfeld] said, noting that prices of older drugs also often increase, and that sometimes these increases seem to be more than can be justified by increases in marketing and production costs and inflation."


Read more here.
RunawayRx: What's New? 

RunawayRx has developed and released a suite of new materials to help shine a light on the high-priced drug crisis. 

California's 2017 passage of first-of-its-kind transparency legislation (SB 17) sparked a trend across the nation. To help stakeholders keep up with the numerous SB 17-inspired bills sweeping across the country, RunawayRx released an interactive map tracking states' drug price transparency bills throughout the legislative process.  
View Interactive Map here.

Between 2012 and 2017 many Multiple Sclerosis (MS) drugs have nearly doubled in price, driving up the cost of care for all. To bring awareness to these egregious price hikes, RunawayRx developed an infographic demonstrating the impact, magnitude and severity of high-priced MS medications.

View MS Drug Infographic here.  
For the latest updates and information on the prescription drug pricing crisis, visit the RunawayRx website:
RunawayRx | (818) 760-2121 | info@runawayrx.org
STAY CONNECTED: