Dear Big Pharma, your top 10 most expensive drugs “Used To Be” some of the world’s most unaffordable, but with Medicare negotiation, we won’t have to pay your unjustified prices for a “Single [Drug] Soon.” “Yours Truly,” patients.
Welcome to the Week in Review.
1. Pushing Back On Negotiation Lawsuits
- We’re just a few days away from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announcement of the first ten drugs for which Medicare will negotiate lower prices, and advocates and lawmakers are fighting to ensure successful implementation of the new law. P4AD joined AARP this week to host a press call to discuss upcoming implementation of Medicare negotiation, as well as Big Pharma’s lawsuits challenging the process. On the call, Ellen Farmer, a patient on Medicare taking blood thinner medication Xarelto, shared her experience struggling to afford the medication and expressed relief in knowing it may be on the first list of negotiated drugs. In new videos, P4AD’s David Mitchell and Merith Basey explained how the lawsuits to stop Medicare negotiation are being fiercely challenged because patients will be harmed if the law is overturned. In an op-ed celebrating Medicare negotiation, Senator Amy Klobuchar wrote: “What good are treatments and cures if they go unused because they are unaffordable to patients?” Well said, Senator! While more drug companies continue to file lawsuits to attempt to stop implementation of Medicare negotiation for some of the costliest drugs, analysts are predicting that the attacks on the law are unlikely to delay the negotiation process. AARP recently filed an amicus brief and joined two more lawsuits in support of HHS and their commitment to continue the Medicare negotiation process in spite of the legal challenges. We won’t stop fighting to ensure that Medicare preserves its power to negotiate lower drug prices for patients. — (Endpoints, Star Tribune, Bloomberg Law, Yahoo Finance, AARP)
2. The Widely-Supported Inflation Reduction Act
- Sweeping support of the drug price reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act continues as members of Congress proudly spread the word about how the law is helping their constituents. Rep. John Larson shared that thousands of people in his district are already saving upward of $500 a year and Rep. Jimmy Panetta stated that 3,000 people in his district are saving an average of $330 this year due to the $35 monthly insulin copay cap. Rep. Terri Sewell explainedthat the cap on out-of-pocket costs and insulin copay cap “will provide even more breathing room for Alabama families” and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse spoke with constituents about how the law also stops drug makers from raising their prices faster than inflation. And don’t forget, there’s strong support across party lines for the provisions in the new law, with over 80 percent support for capping out-of-pocket costs and allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices. — (We-Ha, Monterey Herald, Selma Times-Journal, ABC6)
3. Big Pharma Greed & Influence
- This week, The Department of Justice (DOJ) held two pharma giantsaccountable for price fixing charges in which the companies admitted to employing antitrust tactics to raise the prices of essential medicines. Generic drug makers Teva and Glenmark will have to pay $225 million (“the largest to date for a domestic antitrust cartel”) and $30 million in criminal penalties, respectively. In more news in exposing Big Pharma, a new research letter published in JAMA examined 50 patient advocacy groups with the highest revenue and found that 75 percent had board members or senior staff with ties to the pharmaceutical industry. This study comes on the heels of P4AD’s new report update — Hiding in Plain Sight — which ties many patient advocacy organizations’ statements and policies to industry positions that oppose lower drug prices. It’s clear that Big Pharma puts profits over patients and we’ll continue to shed light on the industry’s shady tactics until everyone can afford the medications they need. — (The Hill, The Department of Justice, JAMA, MedPageToday)
Have a great weekend!