Caroline's Feed
Jan 28, 2015

U.S. health insurers eye higher Obamacare profit margins

NEW YORK, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Top U.S. health insurers say
their businesses offering medical coverage under so-called
Obamacare are turning into profitable ventures and that they are
now aiming to be on par with other sought-after government
health programs.

Two of the biggest insurers now say they could see hitting
profit margins of near 5 percent for these individual plans
created under the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare,
as costs for new customers have remained manageable so far.

Jan 28, 2015

UnitedHealth backs Gilead’s Harvoni as preferred hepatitis C treatment

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group Inc, the largest U.S. health insurer, on Wednesday backed Gilead Sciences Inc’s Harvoni as the preferred hepatitis C treatment on its 2015 commercial drug coverage list, another victory for Gilead over competitor AbbVie Inc.

Gilead and AbbVie have been in a battle for hepatitis C market share since a new AbbVie drug was approved in December that challenges Gilead’s blockbusters. Insurers and pharmacy benefit managers have been striking deals for preferred or exclusive status in exchange for discounts for 2015.

Jan 22, 2015

Express Scripts’ Miller says hepatitis C price war to save billions

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Gilead Sciences Inc and AbbVie Inc are in a price war over their hepatitis C treatments that is driving costs lower and has changed the way drugmakers price new medicines, a top executive for pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts said on Thursday.

Gilead’s hepatitis C drug Harvoni, which can cure a majority of patients who take it, has a retail price of $94,500 and is now facing its first competition with AbbVie’s Viekira Pak, which was priced about $10,000 lower, or at $83,319.

Jan 16, 2015

Aetna backs Gilead’s hepatitis C treatment, gets discount

By Caroline Humer and Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Aetna Inc, the third-largest U.S. health insurer, said it negotiated a discount with Gilead Sciences Inc for its hepatitis C treatment and will offer it as the preferred choice to nearly 11 million commercial customers.

Aetna, which posted an updated coverage policy on its website on Friday, said it believes the price it received for Gilead’s Sovaldi, and a newer combination treatment called Harvoni, is “competitive with other recently announced agreements for this class of therapy.” It would not detail the size of the discount.

Jan 16, 2015

CORRECTED (OFFICIAL)-Aetna backs Gilead’s hepatitis C treatment, gets discount

Jan 16 (Reuters) – Aetna Inc, the third-largest U.S.
health insurer, said it has negotiated a discount with Gilead
Sciences Inc for its hepatitis C treatment and will
offer it as the preferred choice to its nearly 11 million
commercial customers.

Aetna, which posted an updated coverage policy on its
website on Friday, said in a statement that it believes its
price is “competitive with other recently announced agreements
for this class of therapy.”

Jan 16, 2015

Exclusive – Actavis aims to add Allergan CEO to its board: sources

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Allergan Inc (AGN.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Chief Executive David Pyott is close to joining the board of directors of Actavis Plc (ACT.N: Quote, Profile, Research), which reached a deal to buy the Botox-maker for $66 billion (43 billion pounds) in November, three people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Actavis CEO Brent Saunders is trying to recruit Pyott to join the board and is working through corporate governance issues, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is private.

Jan 15, 2015

Actavis aims to add Allergan CEO to its board: sources

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Allergan Inc (AGN.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Chief Executive Officer David Pyott is close to joining the board of directors of Actavis Plc (ACT.N: Quote, Profile, Research), which reached a deal to acquire the Botox-maker for $66 billion in November, three people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Actavis CEO Brent Saunders is trying to recruit Pyott to join the board and is working through corporate governance issues, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is private.

Jan 15, 2015

Kite CEO plans to learn from Gilead’s pricing playbook

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Kite Pharma Inc plans to open conversations with insurers this year to lay the groundwork for an experimental cancer treatment that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars if it works and is approved by regulators, top executives said this week.

The possible treatment has yet to start a broad clinical trial, but the urgency comes as biotech and pharma companies consider how to navigate pushback by health insurers against Gilead Sciences Inc on the price of its hepatitis C treatment.

Jan 15, 2015

Insight – Big Pharma faces up to new price pressure from aggressive insurers

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The world’s biggest drugmakers face a new reality when it comes to U.S. pricing for their products as insurers use aggressive tactics to extract steep price discounts, even for the newest medications.

Big Pharma executives acknowledged the depth of change this week during public presentations and interviews with Reuters at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare conference in San Francisco. Drugmakers have long relied on their ability to charge whatever they deemed appropriate in the U.S., the world’s most expensive healthcare system.

Jan 15, 2015

Big Pharma faces up to new price pressure from aggressive insurers

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 15 (Reuters) – The world’s biggest
drugmakers face a new reality when it comes to U.S. pricing for
their products as insurers use aggressive tactics to extract
steep price discounts, even for the newest medications.

Big Pharma executives acknowledged the depth of change this
week during public presentations and interviews with Reuters at
the J.P. Morgan Healthcare conference in San Francisco.
Drugmakers have long relied on their ability to charge whatever
they deemed appropriate in the U.S., the world’s most expensive
healthcare system.