WASHINGTON (AP) — Ending insurance discrimination against the sick was a central goal of the nation’s health care overhaul, but leading patient groups say that promise is being undermined by new barriers from insurers.
Ever since the FDA drafted a set of rules for biosimilars in 2012, a debate has been raging over whether those drugs should carry the same generic names as the products they emulate. Now, some doctors are weighing in on the issue, urging the FDA to require biosimilars to have different names than branded biotech drugs.
It is August and that means that congress is on vacation. Vacation from doing what? I don’t know. (note I do believe that our elected officials are hard working) But when they return after Labor Day, there are a number of issues that they are going to have to deal with before taking a longer recess for their elections.
On July 16th I wrote a piece about hi-copay specialty tiers, and how insurance companies are using them to restrict access to specialty pharma. In the hi-copay specialty tier, instead of pay a flat fee for the medications, patients must instead pay for a percentage of the drug cost, anywhere from 20%-50%.
It is not too surprising to see politicians now suddenly jumping on the bandwagon and expressing outrage over the cost of new drugs. Sovaldi, a drug that essentially, cures hepatitis C, has been the subject of numerous news stories focused on its cost – $84,000 for a twelve week course of treatment.Rather than reacting to this medical breakthrough with applause, many have attacked Sovaldi’s maker, Gilead, for charging this high a price despite the fact that this drug is more effective, safer, and cheaper than existing drug regimens used to treat hepatitis C. This furor has sparked Senators Wyden and Grassley to probe all of Gilead’s expenses, from the acquisition of Pharmasset (originator of Sovaldi) to the costs of the development program in order to embarrass Gilead publicly and perhaps shame them into lowering Sovaldi’s price.
In the latest salvo fired over the cost of hepatitis C treatments, a new report projects that the cost of these drugs – including the Sovaldi medication sold byGilead Sciences GILD +0.74% – will increase 2015 federal spending by Medicare Part D between $2.9 billion to $5.8 billion.
Hospira has emerged as a bidder for Danone’s medical-nutrition unit, which makes food for the sick, young and elderly, in a deal that could be worth about $5 billion and is the latest in a flurry of tax inversion deals designed to sidestep U.S. taxes,The Wall Street Journal reports.
US bankers and lawyers are inciting a sense of urgency among corporate clients to get tax-reducing acquisitions of offshore companies signed before the end of this year, now that a slew of recent so-called tax-inversion trades has set off alarms in Congress.