Stay cool over the sweltering-hot holiday weekend! The forecast? High temps and lower drug prices. ☀️
Welcome to the Week in Review.
1. The Inflation Reduction Act: Cost Savings Continue
- Three new additional policies that will benefit patients are taking effect under the Inflation Reduction Act. First, all insulin covered under Medicare now has a $35 monthly copay cap starting July 1. Second, additional people will qualify for extra savings on Medicare Part D costs through Medicare’s Extra Help Program. And third, recommended vaccines will be available at zero cost for people with Medicaid or CHIP prescription drug coverage starting October 1st. These new changes will deliver relief to patients in addition to the rest of the provisions in the new drug price law. Out-of-pocket drug spending for people on Medicare is expected to decline thanks to the $2,000 cap on out-of-pocket costs that takes effect in 2025, and in 2026 patients on negotiated drugs could see significant savings, according to a report by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Senator Debbie Stabenow emphasized the positive impact of Medicare negotiation with constituents in Michigan: “The US pays the highest in the world for prescriptions.” She continued, “reducing those costs can happen through negotiation, and the passage of The Inflation Reduction Act gave Medicare the power to negotiate prescription drug prices.” Josh Hishta of AARP wrote that Medicare negotiation is long “overdue” — adding that “big drug companies have been exploiting Americans through excessive drug pricing for years.” The new drug price law will rein in excessive drug prices that patients have been forced to pay and hold drug corporations accountable for their behavior. — (P4ADNOW, AARP, Oakland County Times, Daily Gate City)
2. Competition Means Savings
- Generic and biosimilar competition can provide real relief for patients burdened with high drug prices. A new study published in Health Affairs found that the entry of biosimilar competition for anticancer medication Herceptin steadily lowered the price of both brand-name Herceptin and its five biosimilar competitors. The study’s authors found the average price of biosimilar competitors for Herceptin were 28 to 58 percent of the cost of brand-name Herceptin. Remarkable — this is even more evidence that competition is essential to lowering drug prices for patients. This is why we’re pushing for reforms that fix our rigged regulatory system so that competition can come to market sooner. — (Pharmacy Times)
3. Patients Need Access to Innovative Medicines
- Scientific breakthroughs and innovation in medicines are advancing new treatments for patients. However, there is serious concern that the high price tags attached to these medications will put them out of reach for patients and make them unaffordable to the health care system. Many of these new treatments — like mRNA vaccines and CRISPR gene therapy — were propelled by years of taxpayer-funded research. “It will only be a golden age when research that is publicly funded is actually serving the public,” wrote Tahir Ahmin, executive director of the Initiative for Medicines, Access, and Knowledge (I-MAK). We agree, and are committed to stopping drug corporations from setting unjustified drug prices — especially when one in four Americans struggles with affording prescription drug costs. The latest example of new, high-priced treatments: A gene therapy used to treat patients living with hemophilia A, a rare, inherited bleeding disorder, was approved this week and carries a shocking list price of $2.9 million per treatment. We urgently need to find a way to address high launch prices for drugs coming to market and stop drug corporations from hiking the prices of older drugs. — (The New York Times, ABC)
BONUS READ: Protect Our Care’s new report sheds light on the big drug corporations that systematically game the patent system and spend millions on lobbying to protect their unfettered pricing power. Read more about why Medicare needs the power to negotiate lower drug prices here!
Have a great weekend!