Caroline's Feed
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.

Jan 14, 2015

After Canada, UK, 23andMe wants DNA test growth abroad

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Silicon Valley-based genetic testing company 23andMe is looking for new growth of its direct-to-consumer DNA tests abroad, building on recent expansions into Canada and the UK.

The company, whose consumer-directed tests were barred by U.S. health regulators in 2013, said Western Europe is one focus for expansion. It is also exploring regions where it sees the most need, 23andMe Co-founder and Chief Executive Anne Wojcicki said in an interview.

Jan 13, 2015

U.S. insurers squeeze diabetes drug prices : Eli Lilly

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Eli Lilly and Co said on Monday that U.S. insurers are increasing pressure on the price of diabetes medications as they switch coverage from certain drugs to others to trim costs.

At the same time, Lilly’s financial chief believes its products produce better results for patients and will help the company, which is one of the largest diabetes drugmakers, withstand the pressure.

Jan 5, 2015

CVS to cover Gilead hepatitis C treatment over AbbVie regimen

Jan 5 (Reuters) – CVS Health Corp, one of the
largest U.S. managers of drug benefits, said it would give
preferred status to the hepatitis C treatments from Gilead
Sciences and cover a new competing treatment from
AbbVie Inc only as an exception.

The latest salvo in the battle to grab market share for new
all-oral treatments for the liver-destroying hepatitis C virus
follows a move last month by CVS rival Express Scripts Holding
that favored AbbVie’s regimen after negotiating a price
discount below what Gilead had been charging its commercial
customers.

Dec 23, 2014

FDA eases 31-year ban on blood donations from gay men

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – U.S. health regulators will recommend that gay men be allowed to donate blood one year after their last sexual contact, easing a ban that has been in place since 1983.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that scientific evidence shows the move will not create risks for the nation’s blood supply. It stopped short of removing the ban altogether, which some medical groups and advocates had recommended, saying it was not supported by science.

Dec 23, 2014

FDA eases ban on blood donations from gay men

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Gay men will be able to donate blood one year
after their last sexual contact, the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration said on Tuesday, under a proposal that will be
introduced early next year to end a ban that has been in place
since 1983.

Scientific evidence shows the move will not create risks for
the nation’s blood supply, the FDA said. The policy change is
expected to boost the supply of donated blood by hundreds of
thousands of pints per year.

Dec 22, 2014

Express Scripts drops Gilead hep C drugs for cheaper AbbVie rival

Dec 22 (Reuters) – The largest U.S. pharmacy benefit manager
said on Monday it has lined up a cheaper price for AbbVie Inc’s
newly approved hepatitis C treatment and, in most
cases, will no longer cover Gilead Sciences Inc’s
treatments after trying for nearly a year to win a deeper
discount.

Express Scripts’ move reignited investor concerns
that pharmaceutical companies will have to bow to pricing
pressure from U.S. insurers and lawmakers over novel medications
whose cost can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars for some
diseases.

Dec 22, 2014

Express Scripts to cover AbbVie hepatitis C drug, drops Gilead treatment

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – The nation’s largest pharmacy benefit manager has lined up a cheaper price from AbbVie Inc on its newly approved hepatitis C treatment and, in most cases, will no longer cover Gilead Sciences Inc treatments, Express Scripts said on Monday.

Express Scripts has opposed the $84,000 pricetag of Gilead Sciences’ Sovaldi treatment since it was approved a year ago, saying that was unaffordable. The $1,000 a day pill opened a national debate about drug prices and increased insurer pressure on drug makers to cut prices.

Dec 20, 2014

U.S. FDA approves AbbVie hepatitis C drug, costs $83,319 for 12 weeks

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – U.S. health regulators on Friday approved AbbVie’s all-oral treatment for hepatitis C, and the company said the drug would cost $83,319 for a typical 12-week plan, a bit below its huge selling competitor Solvadi from Gilead Sciences.

Gilead’s Sovaldi treatment stole headlines last year with its $84,000 price tag and set off a national debate about whether drug prices have climbed too high.

Dec 15, 2014

Insight – U.S. corporate health exchanges find no new blue chip clients

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Healthcare companies including Aetna Inc, Mercer and Towers Watson Co have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to build exchanges that allow company employees to buy their own insurance, betting that Corporate America wants to get out of managing workers’ health benefits.

By last year, blue chip names like Sears Holding and Walgreen Co had signed on and industry experts predicted that more than 20 percent of the nation’s employees would soon buy their health insurance in this way, compared with less than 2 percent today. But Reuters interviews with nearly a dozen industry executives has found that no major U.S. company signed up their employees for the first time to a private health insurance exchange for 2015.