Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
We want lower drug prices
And know you do, too.
Welcome to the Week in Review.
- A Win For Maryland!
- On Thursday, the Maryland House of Delegates joined the State Senate in establishing permanent funding for the first-in-the-nation prescription drug affordability board. Gov. Hogan blocked the funding in 2020, and both chambers of the state legislature overrode his veto to allow the board to move forward. We are grateful to the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative for its work to push for full empowerment of the board that will help make drugs more affordable for Marylanders. — (Politico)
2. Racial Justice’s Patent Problem
- The next director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has a unique opportunity to reform the patent system and rein in high prescription drug prices, a problem that disproportionately harms communities of color, writes I-MAK co-founder Priti Krishtel in a new op-ed. Drug makers weaponize patent thickets to allow for continual price hikes. If the administration is serious about achieving health equity, addressing pharma’s patent abuses must be part of the conversation. — (The New York Times)
3. Patients Can’t Wait
- State legislatures are continuing to take the lead to lower drug prices and hold pharma accountable. Their work is critical for patients like Katherine Pepper, who depends on the pricey drug Humira and often eats just one meal a day to afford her medication. “I’m now in a situation where I have to do Russian roulette, spin the wheel, and figure out what I can do without this month.” — (Kaiser Health News)
4. The State of Affairs
- As Americans enter a second year of dealing with the devastating impact of COVID-19, drug companies continue to raise prices on necessary medications and receive billions from governments for taxpayer-funded COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. Patients need Congress and the Biden administration to act now to drive down drug prices through Medicare negotiation. — (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
5. Pharma Spends Big On Ads
- Top drug makers spent $216 million on TV ads last month, with AbbVie’s best-selling drug Humira and Novo Nordisk’s diabetes medication Rybelsus leading the pack. January’s ad blitz extends a period of high pharma TV spending over the past few months. And yet, drug companies want us to believe that there’s no room to reduce profits without impacting the development of innovative new medicines. It just doesn’t add up. — (FiercePharma)