August 17, 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 a new report investigating how pharma's excessive patenting is driving up drug prices, a drugmakers' noncompliance to a new California transparency law, a case of drug-pricing collusion, and how two common medicines can break the bank. 
In a new report, non-profit I-MAK investigates how patent abuses are impacting consumers, calling out the worst offenders and their role in the high-priced drug crisis. The report finds that twelve of the highest-grossing drugs in the U.S. have, on average, applied for 125 patents and increased in price by 68 percent since 2012. I-MAK co-founder Tahir Amin says the following in response: 

"Contrary to what the law intends, drugmakers have transformed the patent system into a defensive business strategy to avoid competition and earn outsized profits. Abuse of the patent system is causing undue economic hardship and keeping lifesaving medicines out of the hands of people who need them."

Key Report Takeaways

The report found that, on average, across the top twelve grossing drugs in America: 
  • One third of the drugs had price hikes of more than 100 percent
  • There are 38 years of attempted patent protection blocking generic competition sought by drugmakers for each of these top grossing drugs - or nearly double the twenty year monopoly intended under U.S. patent law
  • Over half of the top twelve drugs in America have more than 100 attempted patents per drug

Learn more about pharma's patent abuses  here
The Los Angeles Times: Key California Lawmaker Calls Eli Lilly's Behavior 'Disingenuous and Offensive'

"Seven months after a controversial California law took effect requiring advance notice of planned price increases on prescription drugs, many pharmaceutical companies appear to be in compliance.

"But not Eli Lilly...

" The Indianapolis-based drugmaker - one of the largest producers of insulin - has been under fire from consumer advocates for jacking up prices on its lifesaving diabetes medication. And the company has chosen not to follow the California  law , which requires it not only to disclose but justify significant price hikes to drug purchasers...
 
"The numerous pharmaceutical manufacturers heeding the law apparently see no need to follow Eli Lilly's lead. The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), one of the nation's largest purchasers of prescription drugs, has received 17 notices under the law, said the agency's spokeswoman, Stephanie Buck."

Read more  here.
Fierce Healthcare: Humana sues dozens of generic drug manufacturers for price-fixing scheme 

"Humana has filed a lawsuit against more than two dozen pharmaceutical companies for conspiring to fix the prices of widely used generic drugs, a scheme that forced the insurer to pay for drugs at artificially inflated prices...

"Humana's complaint includes a list of 16 specific generic drugs it purchased in 'substantial quantities' for 'grossly inflated prices' due to the conspiracy...
 
"...Humana points out that the use of generic drugs saved the U.S. healthcare system $1.68 trillion between 2005 and 2014, the defendants' collusion forced Humana to pay 'artificially inflated prices at supracompetitive rates.' According to federal data, the prices of these drugs shot up as much as 8,000% over the course of years, months, or even weeks."
 
Read more  here.
Axios: Combining common drugs with a high price tag

"Common medications like ibuprofen or naproxen don't cost a lot on their own. But in several instances, drug manufacturers blend those kinds of medicines into one tablet and then sell the combined drug for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
 
"Patients and the public are paying huge sums of money for cocktails of old medications that are cheaper when bought separately.

"Here are four combination drugs that industry experts have highlighted as notably pricey examples. List prices come from Elsevier's Gold Standard Drug Database.
  • Duexis, made by Horizon Pharma: $2,482 for a 90-pill bottle
  • Vimovo, made by Horizon Pharma: $2,482 for a 60-pill bottle
  • Treximet, made by Pernix Therapeutics: $880 for a 9-pill bottle
  • Caduet, made by Pfizer: $580 for a 30-pill bottle

" Each of these drugs is made up of two different medications that can be bought in pharmacies as over-the-counter pills or as generics for a total of $20 or less."

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
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