Next Up On The Pharma Rebranding Bandwagon: Generics

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News outlets report on stories related to pharmaceutical drug pricing.

Stat: Generic Drug Lobby Rebrands Itself As Pricing Politics Intensify
The Generic Pharmaceutical Association is no more. Meet the Association for Accessible Medicines. Every industry group invested in the drug-pricing debate is gearing up and burnishing its brand. PhRMA, the brand-name pharmaceuticals lobby, has its “Go Boldly” campaign. Now the generics lobby is launching its own “education campaign” under a whole new name. (Scott, 2/14)

Stat: Will Pharma Use A Tax Break To Create Jobs? It Didn’t Last Time
Drug makers are promising to create tens of thousands of American jobs if President Donald Trump follows through on his promise to give them a big tax break if they “repatriate” cash they’ve stashed overseas. But that’s not what happened last time pharma got a tax holiday. Instead, drug makers used the tens of billions they brought back to the US to enrich their CEOs and drive up their stock prices. Rather than adding jobs, they laid off thousands of workers. (Garde, 2/10)

Stat: What Might Pharma Buy With Its Repatriated Cash?
If President Donald Trump keeps his promise, the world’s biggest drug makers will soon get access to billions of dollars siloed overseas. And if investors and analysts are right, much of that money will go toward acquisitions. So what might pharma buy with its freed-up capital? According to a recent investor survey by EvercoreISI, these are 2017’s most likely takeout targets. (Garde, 2/10)

Reuters: Pharma Industry Shuns Trump Push For Radical Shift At FDA
U.S. President Donald Trump’s vow to roll back government regulations at least 75 percent is causing anxiety for some pharmaceutical executives that a less robust Food and Drug Administration would make it harder to secure insurance coverage for pricey new medicines. The prospect of big change at the regulatory agency comes as drugmakers are under fire for high prices, including Marathon Pharmaceuticals LLC, which said Monday it was “pausing” the launch of its Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug after U.S. lawmakers questioned its $89,000 a year price. (2/15)

Bloomberg: CEO Under Fire For $89,000 Drug Has A History Of Steep Price Hikes 
The CEO of the latest drugmaker to face criticism over a product’s high price has a history of steep hikes on other drugs and at past companies. Marathon Pharmaceuticals LLC Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Aronin, under fire for setting an $89,000 price on the company’s drug for a rare, deadly muscle disease, was questioned in a letter more than two years ago by Washington lawmakers about mark-ups on two heart drugs. Years earlier, as the leader of another company, Aronin took high price increases on a drug used to treat babies with a congenital defect. (Greifeld and Langreth, 2/14)

Bloomberg: Big Pharma Is Pointing Fingers, And Hoping Trump Will Listen 
In the fast-moving Washington game of who’s to blame for high U.S. drug prices, an often-overlooked industry is readying its defenses against pharmaceutical companies that fault other parts of the health sector for the costs faced by patients. Known as pharmacy benefits managers, or PBMs, the industry includes giants such as Express Scripts Holding Co. and CVS Health Corp., which negotiate prices with drugmakers, work with pharmacies and help set the co-pays patients pay out of pocket. Now these middlemen are now taking it from all sides. (Tracer, Langreth and Edney, 2/8)

Stat: SEC Plans To Review Some Pharma Industry Accounting Practices
Concerned about the way that some drug makers report earnings in their financial statements, the US Securities and Exchange Commission recently indicated plans to evaluate pharmaceutical industry accounting practices.The plans were disclosed in a Jan. 11 letter that the agency sent to Allergan over GAAP, or generally accepted accounting principles. (Silverman, 2/13)

The Baltimore Sun: Cost Of Overdose Drug Could Hamper Access In Maryland And Elsewhere 
The price of a drug that has saved the lives of more than 800 people overdosing on heroin or other opioids in Baltimore is rising rapidly.The antidote known as naloxone revives addicts after they’ve stopped breathing, with either a simple spray in their nose or an injection. The use of naloxone is a centerpiece of Baltimore public health officials’ wide-ranging efforts to battle the growing heroin epidemic, but the rising price of the antidote could constrain the campaign to stop or at least slow the rate of overdose deaths. (Cohn, 2/13)

Stat: Former PBM CEO Pleads Guilty To Paying Kickbacks
Aformer head of a pharmacy benefits manager pleaded guilty in federal court in Texas on Monday to paying kickbacks in order to win business from government health plans. Between 2001 and 2013, Douglas Pick, who was once chief executive at Pharmaceutical Technologies, orchestrated nearly $3.6 million in combined payments to the head of a health plan, as well as several individuals who were hired to boost business for the PBM, according to court documents. Pick faces up to three years in federal prison, according to the US Department of Justice. (Siverman, 2/14)

Stat: Gilead Faces New Patent Challenges To Hepatitis C Drugs In India
After losing one challenge to Gilead Sciences patents on hepatitis C drugs in India, patient advocacy groups are now challenging still other patents the company holds for its drugs in the country. At the same time, the groups are also challenging Gilead patents in Argentina, moves that reflect an ongoing strategy to widen patient access to the medicines. (Silverman, 2/14)

Nashville Tennessean: Tennessee Bill Would Nix Drug Swaps By Insurers, Benefit Drug Industry
A coalition of Tennessee patient and health care provider groups backed by major U.S. drug companies is behind a bill that would stop insurance companies from switching the medications they cover to cheaper substitutes midway through a coverage year. The Reliable Coverage Act would require insurance companies to keep providing the same medication coverage they promise when enrollees sign up each year. Currently insurers can change the medications they cover midway through an enrollment year by ending coverage of a particular drug entirely, which increases out-of-pocket costs for a drug or requires additional approval by the insurance company before a drug is covered. (Wadhwani and Boucher, 2/13)

Kaiser Health News: Former FDA Chief Cites 5 Things To Watch On Drug Approvals, And Keeping Drugs Safe
The just-departed commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration has concerns about plans to speed up drug approvals and dramatically reduce regulations at the agency, as advocated recently by President Donald Trump. Dr. Robert Califf, who stepped down last month, shared his thoughts about keeping Americans safe — and making sure drugs actually work — after about a year overseeing the federal agency. (Lupkin and Tribble, 2/14)

The Associated Press: Ex-Drug Company CEO Shkreli To Speak At Harvard
Controversial former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli is set to speak at Harvard while out on bail awaiting his federal securities fraud trial. The former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals is expected to talk about investing and healthcare at an event organized by the Harvard Financial Analysts Club. The talk on Wednesday is open to the Harvard community only. (2/12)

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