SUMMARY: (Times) The financial windfall at Moderna, the biotech company behind one of the three federally cleared Covid-19 vaccines, has propelled three new names onto Forbes magazine’s list of the 400 wealthiest people in the United States. However, it’s the NIH’s vaccine. It is not merely Moderna’s vaccine. Federal scientists helped invent it, and taxpayers are funding its development.

SUMMARY: Via Axios – The antiviral pill that showed promising results against severe COVID-19 was initially developed at Emory University with $35 million of taxpayer grants. And while it costs $17.74 to produce, according to a report issued last week by drug pricing experts at the Harvard School of Public Health and King’s College Hospital in London. Merck charges the U.S. government $712 for the same amount of medicine or 40 times the price.

SUMMARY:

  • The Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Energy and Commerce is investigating the approval process for Biogen’s new Alzheimer’s drug.
  • Janet Woodcock acknowledged on Wednesday her agency may have misstepped in the handling of its polarizing approval of a new Alzheimer’s drug.
  • Biogen undertook a secret campaign, termed Project Onyx, to persuade FDA to approve Aduhelm.
  • Biogen’s reputation may be damaged beyond repair.

SKIMMERS SUMMARY:

  • Jefferies analysts found doctors have shown strong interest in prescribing Aduhelm for about 35% of early-stage Alzheimer’s patients with mild cognitive impairment after surveying 50 U.S. neurologists or psychiatrists currently treating about 12,000 Alzheimer’s patients. Source: Fierce Pharma
  • If that enthusiasm pans out in the long run, it could mean at least 300,000 patients taking the drug, or $10 billion to $15 billion in peak Aduhelm from U.S. sales alone, which is above consensus estimates of around $7 billion to $8 billion, the team said.
  •  One agency FDA adviser, resigning from his committee post in protest, called it “probably the worst drug approval decision in recent U.S. history.” Source: STAT News
  • Our healthcare system can’t continue to support drugs that don’t have good clinical outcomes behind them.