A time-honored technique for boosting drug sales is simple: Raise prices. Lately, plenty of drugmakers pressed by patent-cliff losses have done just that. But some notable price hikes on diabetes drugs may be backfiring with payers. With diabetes costs taking double-digit increases--and expensive newer meds launching--insurers are tightening restrictions on drug use.
Add a new set of pricing foes for Gilead Sciences). A U.S. Senate committee has joined the forces arrayed against the company's breakthrough hepatitis C drug Sovaldi and its $84,000 price tag.
Rep. Henry Waxman and several Democratic colleagues in Congress wrote Gilead CEO John Martin an excoriating letter on Friday, demanding to know why Gilead Sciences' hepatitis C wonder drug Sovaldi costs $84,000--and whether Gilead is doing anything to make sure that poor patients get access to it.
The New York Times recently found out that different patients treated in a recent food-poisoning event paid prices that ranged over hundreds of dollars for basic IV saline solution. More surprising is that the Medicare-approved rate for a liter of saline that can end up at $90 starts at $1.07 a liter.
The U.K. government is the latest to start looking to tamp down prices on already-approved drugs as it tries to take control of what it sees as runaway healthcare costs.
Greece and the drug industry aren't getting along so well. After several years of stiffing drugmakers on their bills, the Greek government now accuses more than 50 pharma companies of cutting off supplies of key drugs, the Guardian reports.
The well-armed German pricing gatekeepers have dismissed two more Big Pharma drugs. Pfizer's ($PFE) lung cancer treatment Xalkori and the Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY)/AstraZeneca ($AZN) diabetes drug Komboglyze both got an initial thumbs-down from the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).
It is little compensation for being shut out of the U.S. market with its best new product, but Novo Nordisk said it will price Tresiba at a premium in Europe, where the product is facing off against market leader Lantus.
Pharma's path to a big payoff in China is growing narrower and narrower. The government has just announced its fourth drug-price cut since 2011, with 400 meds subject to forced discounts. And on that list are several of Big Pharma's key products.
Paper-thin margins on some generic sterile injectable drugs are often cited as one of the big reasons that so many have ended up in short supply, because few companies, if any, want to make them. When a plant is closed for upgrades or a supplier decides to drop a drug because the reward is too low, then presto--the drug is in short supply and patients who rely on it are in a world of hurt.