Happy Pride to everyone but Gilead!
Welcome to the Week in Review.
1. PBM Scrutiny: A Win For Patients
- In a unanimous decision, the Federal Trade Commission voted this week to investigate the role of pharmacy benefit managers in the drug pricing supply chain and how their practices may influence high drug costs and patient access to drugs. As P4ADNow laid out in comments to the FTC, PBMs’ secret dealings have allowed them to become some of the most profitable players in the health care sector, and their opaque rebates and formulary decisions have a real impact on patient choice and the accessibility of cheaper generic competitors. P4ADNow has called for increased transparency and accountability into PBM practices; the commission’s investigation is a win for patients across the country. — (AP)
2. Soaring Prices Underscore Senators’ Work On Reconciliation
- Passing comprehensive drug pricing reforms through reconciliation remains top of mind this week. As Treasury Secretary Yellen and Senator King highlighted the importance of lowering prescription drug prices, Leader Schumer and Senator Manchin continued to discuss a framework for the reconciliation bill. Their work proceeds as a new research letter published in JAMA reveals the shocking growth of drug launch prices — the median price for a year’s supply of a new drug was $2,115 in 2008 and climbed to over $180,000 in 2021. It’s clear we need to end pharma’s unilateral pricing power to rein in soaring prices for patients. — (Punchbowl News, The Washington Post, CNN, WGME, Axios, NBC)
3. Life Or Death
- Patients and constituents shared their drug pricing stories and advocated for reforms this week in news media and in letters to their local publications. In a CNBC segment, cancer patient and retired nurse Lynn Scarfuto described the life-or-death consequences of being unable to afford her medication, Imbruvica. “Too many Americans are forced to choose between buying the medications they need and paying for food, rent, gas, or utilities,” explains New Yorker Marie Santangelo. “I have found my payments increasing at the same time Big Pharma is receiving record profits,” shares Florida retiree Laura Fries. “We need this Congress to urgently pass a reconciliation package with comprehensive drug-pricing reforms to lower drug prices now,” writes Delaware patient Al Liebeskind. — (CNBC, Staten Island Advance, St. Augustine Record, Delaware State News, Nevada Current, Las Vegas Sun, The Capital Times, San Mateo Daily Journal)
One more thing: On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office urging the agency to address drug companies’ usage of patent thickets to insulate their products from competition.
Have a great weekend, everyone!