Welcome to the Week in Review.

1. Biden Promises to Expand The Inflation Reduction Act

In a week marked by significant developments in the fight to make medicine more affordable, Patients For Affordable Drugs Now (P4ADNow) applauded President Biden’s ongoing commitment to reducing drug prices for patients nationwide. The Biden Administration’s proposals to expand Medicare negotiation to 500 drugs over a decade and extend cost-saving measures to millions of people on private insurance, among other reforms, signals a potentially monumental step toward achieving affordable drugs for every American. Furthermore, President Biden’s State of the Union address underscored the historic achievements of the Inflation Reduction Act for patients and highlighted the proposals he had announced on the eve of the address. P4ADNow patient advocate, Steven Hadfieldemphasized the impact of the reforms, sharing his personal experience and the relief he has felt thanks to capped monthly insulin costs and expressed hope for further relief brought by Medicare negotiation. His presence as a guest of First Lady Jill Biden during the State of the Union exemplifies the urgency and importance of lowering drug prices for millions of Americans. P4ADNow continues to advocate for the implementation of the new drug price law and bipartisan bills in Congress that help address the challenges faced by patients like Steven. We know the momentum and public pressure to reduce drug prices are stronger than ever. – (P4ADNowP4ADNowSTAT NewsPharma PhorumP4ADAARPNPRNew York TimesYahoo NewsP4ADNow

A quick selfie with P4AD patient advocate, Steven Hadfield, before he joined First Lady Jill Biden for the SOTU

2. Legal Battles Over Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Heat Up

On Thursday, a federal district judge in New Jersey heard oral arguments in four of several cases challenging Medicare’s authority to negotiate drug prices. In a courtroom exchange that captured attention, Judge Zahid Quraishi probed the industry’s arguments and questioned the purported financial burdens Medicare negotiation would have on drugmakers, injecting a note of skepticism by remarking, “A lot of people would say pharmaceutical companies could give up an arm. They have a lot of appendages.” This observation reinforced the judge’s scrutiny of the industry’s claims. Rachel Cohrs of STAT News highlighted the judge’s remarks that these big drug companies were “businesses with the goal of profit… These companies are not Mother Teresa developing drugs for free for the American public.” A P4AD patient advocate was also in the room representing patients and listening to the arguments, which came just days after a federal judge in Delaware issued a sweeping ruling against pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca in a case brought by the drug company seeking to overturn Medicare negotiation. Last month, a federal district judge in Texas dismissed a similar lawsuit from the industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), and in September a District Judge in Ohio ruled against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s case. That’s three times that a judge has ruled against pharma and for patients of the United States, and as this headline from Fast Company puts it, “Big Pharma is losing its fight to avoid prescription-drug-price negotiations”. – (P4ADSTAT NewsBioSpaceEndpoints NewsGeorgetown LawReutersFastCompany)

3. Boehringer Ingelheim Caps Inhaler Costs Amid Public Pressure

In a move spurred by mounting public pressure and widespread demand for lower drug prices, Boehringer Ingelheim has announced plans to cap out-of-pocket costs for its inhaler products at $35 per month starting June 1. The decision comes amidst growing criticism, notably from Senator Bernie Sanders, who, in his role as chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) launched an investigation into efforts by pharmaceutical companies to manipulate the price of asthma inhalers. These big drug companies have heard widespread complaints from American patients and consumers about the inability to afford their inhalers, especially considering they are drastically cheaper in other countries. This move draws parallels to actions taken by insulin manufacturers, including Sanofi, Novo Nordisk, and Eli Lilly, all of whom lowered the price on some of their older insulins after years of criticism over pricing practices. These developments help underscore the power of grassroots advocacy in driving industry reforms. While welcomed by many patients, Boehringer Ingelheim’s action demonstrates the ongoing need for sustained efforts to guarantee access to essential medications for all patients. – (ReutersSTAT NewsThe LancetThe HillFiercePharmaP4AD