Yesterday, the House Built Back Better.
Welcome to the Week in Review.
1. A Historic Milestone
- The House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act yesterday, including reforms that are a historic step toward resetting a broken drug pricing system and lowering prices for Americans. If passed into law, the landmark legislation would allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices for the most expensive drugs for the very first time. “On behalf of patients, we urge the Senate to move swiftly to pass the Build Back Better Act with the current drug pricing legislation intact, and to resist efforts by Big Pharma to weaken it in any way,” said P4ADNow’s David Mitchell. Americans can’t wait any longer for relief from high drug prices. — (STAT)
2. We Saved Ourselves
- This week, P4AD released a video and a fact sheet telling the true origin story of the COVID-19 vaccines. Taxpayers funded years of research into vaccine technology prior to the pandemic and spent billions of dollars developing, manufacturing, and purchasing the vaccines after the pandemic hit. Drug companies took the money and are now set to break records on drug sales, and AstraZeneca announced that it will transition to for-profit pricing. “The moral of the story? Pharma did its job, but it didn’t save us,” the animated video says. “We taxpayers saved ourselves.” — (P4ADNow)
3. Raising Prices, Just Because
- A new report from the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review identified seven costly drugs, including the best-selling medication Humira, that saw significant price hikes in 2020 without clinical justification. “These treatments have been on the market for many years, with scant evidence that they are any more effective … than when they cost far less.” Drug companies shouldn’t be able to price gouge patients and raise prices at will, forcing too many to choose between paying for their prescription drugs or their bills. It’s time to put a stop to pharma’s predatory pricing practices. — (Reuters)
4. The Savings Are Negligible
- Semglee, an insulin biosimilar to Lantus that was approved earlier this year, is priced at $269 per vial — less than $20 lower than the price of Lantus. While the industry touted this change as an “affordable alternative” price, this is really just another example of how biosimilar drugs can still be priced out of reach for patients instead of providing significant savings. The entire pharmaceutical chain, which continues to exploit patients for maximum profits, is due for reform. — (Axios)
5. Lifting The Veil On Drug Prices
- A new rule from the Biden administration requires insurance companies to report the highest-cost drugs to the government. The transparency measure, which will allow policymakers to identify ways to lower prices, is another step in the right direction toward building a more fair drug pricing system for the people it is supposed to serve: patients. — (FierceHealthcare)
One more thing: P4ADNow founder David Mitchell appeared on Inside America with Ghida Fakhry to discuss the popularity of drug pricing reforms like Medicare negotiation and the fight to get the legislation passed this year.