Welcome to the Week in Review.

Court Watch: Patients Score Fifth Legal Victory
A federal judge in Connecticut dealt a fifth consecutive blow to the pharmaceutical industry’s legal campaign to halt the Medicare negotiation program. Chief Judge Michael P. Shea ruled against Boehringer Ingelheim on Wednesday, rejecting the company’s claims and emphasizing the voluntary nature of drugmakers’ participation and their ability to remain profitable even with lower prices. Jardiance, Boehringer’s blockbuster diabetes and heart failure drug, is among the first 10 drugs selected for Medicare negotiation, and in 2023, the company raked in $8 billion in sales from Jardiance alone. A lower negotiated price for Jardiance could yield hundreds of dollars in monthly savings for patients like Joy in Michigan, who is forced to go without the drug because of its price. — (FightPharma.orgpharmaphorumFirst Word PharmaBoehringer Ingelheim)

Zeroing In On Patent Abuses
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched an investigation last week into Teva Pharmaceuticals over the company’s failure to remove dozens of “junk” patents on its inhalers. This probe is part of a broader and ongoing effort to end drug corporations’ exploitation of the patent system. Companies are accused of making minor tweaks to their medications for the purpose of keeping patents active and prolonging monopoly pricing power. The investigation follows the FTC’s November 2023 probe into several drug manufacturers’ improperly listed patents on medications that treat conditions like asthma, COPD, and diabetes. FTC Chair Lina Khan and Senator Dick Durbin criticized these patent abuses in an op-ed in STAT News this week and highlighted several bipartisan bills currently in Congress, backed by P4ADNOW, to address anti-competitive practices like pay-for-delay and patent thickets. These reforms recently gained renewed momentum as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) rescoredthreebills included in this bipartisan package, projecting significantly higher savings and bolstering the case for their passage. — (The Washington PostFTCSTAT NewsPatientsPushForCompetition.orgAxios)

Expansion of Medicare Negotiation
Renewed calls to expand Medicare negotiation made headlines this week as President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders announced their shared aspirations to expand the program’s ability to negotiate drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies. The new proposal aims to increase the number of drugs eligible for negotiation to 50 drugs per year, potentially including popular GLP-1s like Wegovy and Ozempic, and would be transformational in the continued fight for lower drug prices. These proposals would build upon hard-won victories for patients and could lead to billions in additional savings for both patients and taxpayers. — (Washington ExaminerFierce PharmaUSA Today)

Eli Lilly’s Pricey Alzheimer’s Treatment
The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Kisunla this week – one of only two drugs currently approved to treat Alzheimer’s disease – offers potential hope to patients affected by this devastating illness. Its launch price however is raising concerns over access. Eli Lilly priced the treatment at $32,000 per year — higher than Leqembi, the only other drug to treat the disease which costs $26,500 annually after Aduhelm was removed from the market this year. With an estimated 6.7 million people aged 65 or older living with Alzheimer’s disease, this price would place an impossible financial strain on Medicare. — (NBCKFFNIH)

In Case You Missed It
This week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched MedicamentosBajoPrecio.gov, a Spanish-language version of their Lowerdrugcosts.gov resource that breaks down the drug price reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act.