Big Pharma handed a rare loss

KEY TAKEAWAY: Big Pharma was handed a rare loss as Congressional leaders moved to pass the $1.3 trillion omnibus budget.  Lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry have been camped out on Capitol Hill this past month working legislators to change new policies tied to payment obligations attached to Medicare Part D, the so-called Donut Hole. The changes call for the financial liability covered by insurance carriers for prescription drugs not covered by Medicare to shrink, while that obligation rises for pharmaceutical companies. For drug makers, their share of discount rises from 50% to 70%. Lobbyists had been trying to push those numbers down to 60%. Continue reading

Pharma continues to fan the flames..

KEY TAKEAWAY: After raising prices on all its drugs in 2017 Pfizer has given their CEO  a total 2017 compensation that spiked up 61% to $27.9 million.  At the same time Allergan  rewarded its CEO Brent Saunders with a $32.8 million pay package—an eightfold increase over 2016.  Despite PhRMA’s social media blast about the root cause of drug prices the media have pharma in their sites once again. Continue reading

Spreading the blame for high health care costs

KEY TAKEAWAY: Accoring to the Economist, “EVERY year America spends about $5,000 more per person on health care than other rich countries do.  With healthcare firms making excess profits of $65bn a year. Surprisingly, the worst offenders are not pharmaceutical firms, but an army of corporate healthcare middlemen”. However, the patient, stick in the middle of this debate, doesn’t care. Continue reading

Sorry Mr Pitts, you’re wrong

KEY TAKEAWAY: Peter Pitts, in an Op-Ed entitled “To cut drug prices, start with the facts” wrote “many lawmakers believe that prescription drug prices are skyrocketing. They’re not. In fact, after accounting for all the rebates and discounts manufacturers offer, drug prices have barely budged in recent years. Drug spending grew just 1.3 percent in 2016, according to the latest federal data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Overall health spending increased by 4.3 percent.  Sorry, but in these statistics are some very disturbing trends, Continue reading

Rising out-of-pocket costs

KEY TAKEAWAY: TransUnion Healthcare found patients’ average out-of-pocket costs rose to $1,813 in the fourth quarter of 2017, up 11 percent from $1,630 in the same period the year prior. The analysis also broke down the amount of patient out-of-pocket costs. TransUnion Healthcare said researchers found, on average, nearly half of patients out-of-pocket costs per healthcare visit (49 percent) were lower than $500 in 2017. Thirty-nine percent were $501 to $1,000; and 12 percent exceeded $1,000. Continue reading

The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you

KEY TAKEAWAY: Only 9% of U.S. consumers believe pharma and biotechnology companies put patients over profits.   Just 28 percent of Americans have a positive view of drug makers, while 19 percent reported feeling neutral and 51 percent have a negative view.  Do pharma CEO’s even care? Continue reading