This week: a new royal baby and a new drug only royalty can afford.
Welcome to the Week in Review.
- Drug Pricing Poster Child
- After the FDA approved Aduhelm, a drug intended to target the disease process of Alzheimer’s, drug maker Biogen set its list price at a staggering $56,000 per year. It’s an outrageous price for a drug that hasn’t even been proven clinically effective yet. At this cost, treatment for even one-third of Alzheimer’s patients would raise U.S. drug spending by about 22 percent. Aduhelm is a poster child for why Medicare should be allowed to negotiate drug prices — our system and patients cannot support unlimited prices. Without Medicare negotiation, we’re going to watch “our system bend, break, buckle under the weight of this kind of drug and this kind of pricing.” — (USA Today)
2. Congress Negotiates Negotiation
- Congressional Democrats are continuing to work on legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. Senate Finance Chair Wyden is drafting a bill that is expected to include negotiation, Senate Majority Leader Schumer is also at work on the issue, and House Democrats are pushing to include H.R. 3 in the next budget reconciliation package. Congress must keep advancing on a path to reform our broken drug pricing system and lower prices for Americans. — (The Hill, The Washington Post)
3. Colorado Makes History
- In a huge win for Colorado patients, the state legislature passed a bill that would establish the third prescription drug affordability board in the nation — and the first with the power to set upper payment limits on unaffordable drugs. We are grateful to state lawmakers for standing with Colorado patients and look forward to Gov. Jared Polis’ signature on the bill in the coming weeks! — (The Denver Post)
4. Seniors Pay The Price
- A new AARP report found that the prices of 260 commonly used drugs increased by more than double the rate of inflation last year. Drug prices are becoming more and more unsustainable for seniors like Pam Holt, who lives with multiple myeloma and pays thousands of dollars for Revlimid each year, and Lynn Scarfuto, who lives with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. “People cannot afford to make a choice between food or living and taking pills,” Lynn said. — (AARP, MarketWatch, USA Today)
5. Pharma Pours Cash On Lawmakers
- New analyses from STAT reveal the broad financial influence that pharma has in Congress and in state legislatures across the country. During the 2020 election cycle, the drug industry made campaign contributions to over two-thirds of Congress and one-third of state lawmakers, totaling about $23 million. Patients can’t match pharma in its outrageous spending funded by constant price hikes, but we are fighting back with our voices and stories — and we will win. — (STAT)