Prescription drug prices came up at this week’s Democratic presidential debate, with one of the candidates mentioning HIV/AIDS drugs.
Here are the facts: since HIV and AIDS treatments came onto the market, the number of AIDS deaths in the United States has dropped from 500,000 annually in 1995 to less than 7,000 today. As Dr. W. David Hardy, adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has explained at STAT News, pharmaceuticals not only help individuals live longer, they help prevent HIV transmission. “That,” Hardy said, “is a powerful tool for ending the HIV epidemic.”
Perhaps that’s why advocates like AIDS Institute Deputy Executive Director Carl E. Schmid oppose ideas like linking U.S. prices to those paid in other nations. Schmid said, “The Trump administration proposal is bad medicine and dangerous to people living with HIV. … [T]here is no reason to take these draconian actions.”
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TWEETS OF THE WEEK
- The U.S. didn't become the world leader of #medical #discovery by playing it safe. But with the passage of H.R. 3, innovators will “stop taking risks that ultimately lead to greater production of #innovative drugs that improve & save lives.” #pricecontrols https://bit.ly/385JdDc Click here to RT.
- From cell therapies, to checkpoint inhibitors, to cures for deadly diseases like hepatitis C, this past decade was a boon for #innovation. Read about our innovators’ greatest #medical discoveries, and see why we, like many patients, oppose #pricecontrols. https://lat.ms/2RlLhjC Click here to RT.
- Although #drugprices often take center stage, they barely contribute to high #healthcare costs. Considering that @Axios found “no evidence of quality improvement” in #hospital consolidation, preventing mergers must be a priority for policymakers in 2020. https://bit.ly/2Ttynmo Click here to RT.
THE STORIES THAT DIDN’T GET ENOUGH ATTENTION
Check out and share on Twitter our latest blog posts:
- A Look At Drug Pricing For The New Year. As it has for the past few years, the new year brought headlines about the number of pharmaceuticals for which list prices will increase. Thankfully, at least a few news outlets, offered context that should help Americans understand this issue more fully. We take a look at that background. Click here to read the full blog post.
- What Is A PBM? If you need a quick refresher on what pharmacy benefit managers are, how they work and how they impact patients we’ve got you covered. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.
- Drug Importation: “Not Your Silver Bullet.” Practicality, safety, shortages. There are many reasons drug importation is not a “silver bullet” for U.S. consumers. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.
WHAT WE’RE READING
- Federal Judge Questions Whether Putting Drug Prices In TV Ads Will Improve Transparency. Modern Healthcare reports, “A panel of federal appellate judges … appeared unlikely to revive a Trump administration initiative to require drugmakers to disclose list prices in TV advertisements.” One concern? The Trump administration regulation would require publication of prices that patients don’t actually pay. The article continues: “Judge Patricia Millett questioned whether the rule would truly lead to marketplace transparency, as most consumers do not pay the list price for drugs. ‘Is there any economist that says that price transparency that is not the price people will pay improves efficiency in this sense?’ Millett asked.”
- President Donald Trump’s Drug Importation Plan Won’t Work. At Forbes, Pacific Research Institute CEO Sally Pipes explains: “The Congressional Budget Office has found that importation could trim drug costs by about 1 percent over a decade. That's minuscule. Canada also does not have enough drugs to accommodate a surge in orders from the United States. If just one in five U.S. drug prescriptions were filled by Canada in 2018, the country’s drug supplies would be depleted in only 165 days, according to a study from the University of Texas at Austin.” An op-ed in Canada’s Financial Post makes similar arguments and says Canadian consumers simply will not “stand for” American importation of their medications.
- Survey: Employers Are Wary Of Pharmacy Benefit Managers. According to BenefitsPro, a new report from National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions found employers are “wary about what they perceive as their overdependence on PBMs” in setting drug prices. The study said: “Employers note that the lack of transparency is exacerbated by the fact that PBMs are often highly motivated by rebate revenue. … Some employers say their own dependence on PBMs to develop drug formularies has made it difficult to know whether rebates are being used in ways that benefit them, their employees, or the PBMs.”
- New Hope for Patients with a Rare Form of Stomach, Intestinal Cancer. Reuters reports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first treatment from Blueprint Medicines “to treat a rare form of cancer that affects the stomach and small intestine” that affects about 5,000 Americans every year.
QUOTATION OF THE WEEK
Gerard Scimeca, president of Consumer Action for a Strong Economy:
“The real cost of successfully getting a single prescription drug to market is bogged down by the expense of the myriad of drugs that end up on the cutting-room floor. In fact, findings show that only one of every 10 drugs that enter clinical development make it through marketing approval.”
UPCOMING EVENTS TO WATCH
January 27, 2020, 3:30 p.m.: Center for Global Development
Location: 2055 L St NW, Washington, DC 20036
Topic: Global Health Supply Chains: The Role of Private Wholesalers & Distributors in Improving Access to Medicines
- Ann Allen, Program Officer - Systems Innovation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Clinton de Souza, Project Lead, Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PFSCM)
- James Maloney, Chief, Supply Chain for Health Division, Global Health Bureau, U.S. Agency for International Development
- Mark Parrish, President, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (IFPW)
- John Simon, Founding Partner, Total Impact Capital and former US Ambassador to the African Union