Welcome to the Week in Review.

1. Companies Opposing Medicare Negotiation Rake In Huge Profits 
Leading drug companies are going to great lengths to protect their profits at the expense of patients. Despite being the top pharmaceutical earner with $85.16 billion in 2023 revenue, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is suing to block Medicare’s new price negotiating authority. Three of J&J’s medications – Xarelto, Imbruvica, and Stelara – are among the first 10 drugs subject to these negotiations. And the human impact of Big Pharma’s efforts is enormous. Medicare negotiation is crucial for P4AD patient advocate Lynn Scarfuto, who takes Imbruvica to treat her cancer, and which has a list price of $17,000 per month. After negotiation, the net price for a 30-day supply of Imbruvica could be reduced to an estimated $6,548. Merck, which ranked close behind J&J with $60.1 billion in 2023 revenue, spearheaded opposition to the program aimed at lowering costs for people like Lynn, filing the first lawsuit against Medicare negotiation last summer. Merck’s diabetes drug Januvia, also selected for negotiation, currently carries a list price of $573 per month. Rather than accept reforms that are expected to save patients on Medicare hundreds of dollars per month, Big Pharma is forcing patients to make impossible choices between their health and financial security. — (Fierce PharmaFightPharma.orgCenter For American ProgressFierce Pharma)

2. Insulin Maker’s Bait and Switch
The insulin industry’s exploitative practices are once again on display in Novo Nordisk’s latest shady maneuver. As one of the “big three” manufacturers controlling 90 percent of the global insulin supply, Novo Nordisk faces intense scrutiny for its pricing practices. Last year, in a move that at face value signaled progress to some, the company announced plans to reduce the list prices of several of its insulin products beginning January 1, 2024. This included lowering the price of Levemir by 65 percent, bringing it in line with the $35 insulin copay cap established in the Inflation Reduction Act. This move followed a similar commitment by competitor Eli Lilly and came just days before Sanofi’s announcement. But, before the price cut took effect, Novo Nordisk announced that Levimir would be discontinued. This decision left patients like Sara in Ohio scrambling to find an alternative to the drug she had relied on for years to manage her diabetes. Senators Shaheen, Warnock, and Warren were quick to condemn Novo Nordisk’s actions and demanded clarification on whether patients would have access to affordable long-acting insulin alternatives or if a biosimilar version of Levemir was planned. The Senators’ letter highlighted the insulin industry’s long history of exploiting patients through exorbitant pricing and seemingly temporary promises of relief. — (USA TodayCNNNBC NewsAxiosReutersFierce PharmaOffice of Senator Shaheen

PATIENT SPOTLIGHT: In 2023,patient advocate Ginny Boynton, a mother of two, who lives with Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome, faced out-of-pocket costs totaling over $30,000 for her essential medications. But this year, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, Ginny is celebrating. Due to the phasing in of the new cap on out-of-pocket costs at about $3,500 if you reach the catastrophic coverage phase for drugs covered by Medicare Part D, her costs have dramatically been reduced. Next year, Ginny can look forward to even greater savings when the $2,000 out-of-pocket cap is implemented.