From Stat

Trump Abandons Drug Pricing Proposal That Would Have Ended Certain Drug Rebates

July 11, 2019

The Trump administration on Wednesday abandoned one of its signature drug-pricing efforts: a ban on many of the rebates that drug companies pay to pharmacy benefit managers under Medicare.

A White House spokesman confirmed the news to STAT after it was first reported by Axios.

“Based on careful analysis and thorough consideration, the President has decided to withdraw the rebate rule,” spokesman Judd Deere said.

The Trump administration on Wednesday abandoned one of its signature drug-pricing efforts: a ban on many of the rebates that drug companies pay to pharmacy benefit managers under Medicare.

A White House spokesman confirmed the news to STAT after it was first reported by Axios.

“Based on careful analysis and thorough consideration, the President has decided to withdraw the rebate rule,” spokesman Judd Deere said.

While the White House had argued eliminating rebates would result in drug manufacturers charging lower list prices, the proposal has been controversial since its unveiling in January. Drug manufacturers had largely supported it, while middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers and insurers were vocally opposed….

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Health Tech Companies Often Flop, but Is There a Strategy for Success?

July 3, 2019

A series of glass cabinets lines the back wall of this Stanford building, the shelves crowded with health technologies dreamed up here. There’s a bottle of thick blue gel that helps drugs stick inside the colon, a heartbeat-tracking patch, an under-the-sheets sensor that buzzes to prevent night terrors, and a baby doll with a dozen redesigned versions of an umbilical catheter lying next to its blanket.

“My favorite thing is just looking at some of the technologies that have come out,” said Dr. Paul Yock, pointing to a low-cost substitute for the pricey ventilators found in the intensive care unit.

A series of glass cabinets lines the back wall of this Stanford building, the shelves crowded with health technologies dreamed up here. There’s a bottle of thick blue gel that helps drugs stick inside the colon, a heartbeat-tracking patch, an under-the-sheets sensor that buzzes to prevent night terrors, and a baby doll with a dozen redesigned versions of an umbilical catheter lying next to its blanket.

“My favorite thing is just looking at some of the technologies that have come out,” said Dr. Paul Yock, pointing to a low-cost substitute for the pricey ventilators found in the intensive care unit.

The shelves are a hall of fame of sorts for Yock, a cardiologist and bioengineer who runs Stanford’s Byers Center for Biodesign. The health technology hub is home to a fellowship program that gives physicians and engineers 10 months to pinpoint an unmet medical need, brainstorm a new tool to tackle it, and develop a business plan that might actually work. Since the center was founded in 2001, Yock has mentored more than 161 fellows who have gone on to found 50 companies. Stanford was the first to found such a program, but a slew of universities have followed suit and founded their own biodesign centers….

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Five People Behind Facebook’s Push Into Health Care

May 29, 2019

When it comes to building out a health business, Facebook is often seen as having much more modest ambitions than its Big Tech competitors. If that was ever true, it’s looking less so now — even as the company faces a backlash over revelations about its use of customers’ personal information….

When it comes to building out a health business, Facebook is often seen as having much more modest ambitions than its Big Tech competitors. If that was ever true, it’s looking less so now — even as the company faces a backlash over revelations about its use of customers’ personal information….

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A New Study Sparks a War of Words Over the Drug Industry’s Commitment to Research

May 14, 2019

A coalition of the drug industry’s fiercest foes is accusing the world’s top drug makers of hiding behind research and development “as an excuse for price-gouging American patients.” And they’re pointing to a new study that finds drug makers spent about 22% of their revenues on research and development in 2017 to prove their point.

The new study, first shared with STAT, was commissioned by the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing, a coalition that includes pharmacy middlemen, hospitals, and insurers and that advocates for drug pricing reforms. It was based largely on analysis of 2017 Security and Exchange Commission filings for the 10 largest U.S.-based pharmaceutical companies that generate more than half their revenue from prescription drugs. And while the industry average was 22%, Celgene spent the largest percentage of its revenues on research (45.49%) and Gilead spent the lowest (14.3%).

A coalition of the drug industry’s fiercest foes is accusing the world’s top drug makers of hiding behind research and development “as an excuse for price-gouging American patients.” And they’re pointing to a new study that finds drug makers spent about 22% of their revenues on research and development in 2017 to prove their point.

The new study, first shared with STAT, was commissioned by the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing, a coalition that includes pharmacy middlemen, hospitals, and insurers and that advocates for drug pricing reforms. It was based largely on analysis of 2017 Security and Exchange Commission filings for the 10 largest U.S.-based pharmaceutical companies that generate more than half their revenue from prescription drugs. And while the industry average was 22%, Celgene spent the largest percentage of its revenues on research (45.49%) and Gilead spent the lowest (14.3%).

To hear the coalition tell it, the study is proof that the pharmaceutical industry isn’t spending nearly enough of its profits on new cures — despite companies’ repeated insistence that that’s exactly why they price their drugs so high. Jon Conradi, a spokesman for CSRxP, called that line the industry’s “go-to defense….”

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PBMs Sidestep the Senate’s Tough Questions — But Lawmakers Hint at Legislation

April 9, 2019

The much-maligned pharmacy middlemen escaped largely unscathed during a high-profile congressional hearing Tuesday — but the powerful bipartisan duo behind the hearing now appears intent on legislating, and it looks like increasing transparency will be their primary goal.

Executives for the country’s five largest pharmacy benefit managers, the middlemen that negotiate with drug makers over the price of their drugs, were expected to face hard questions about their role in the ever rising price of prescription drugs from members of the Senate Finance Committee. But the PBM executives largely parried the senators’ questions, none of which shone too harsh a spotlight on the industry’s practices.

The much-maligned pharmacy middlemen escaped largely unscathed during a high-profile congressional hearing Tuesday — but the powerful bipartisan duo behind the hearing now appears intent on legislating, and it looks like increasing transparency will be their primary goal.

Executives for the country’s five largest pharmacy benefit managers, the middlemen that negotiate with drug makers over the price of their drugs, were expected to face hard questions about their role in the ever rising price of prescription drugs from members of the Senate Finance Committee. But the PBM executives largely parried the senators’ questions, none of which shone too harsh a spotlight on the industry’s practices.

Both the committee’s Republican chairman, Chuck Grassley (Iowa), and his Democratic counterpart, ranking member Ron Wyden (Ore.), have long criticized the role of PBMs, and appear intent on passing some form of PBM legislation this Congress….

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