The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit is Under Attack

  • By proadAccountId-404241
  • 27 Dec, 2017

Email your Members of Congress today — urge them to protect Medicare Part D.

Big drug makers and other special interests are right now lobbying Congress and the Administration to fundamentally overhaul the Medicare prescription drug benefit (Medicare Part D).

This agenda pushed by special interests would increase premiums, raise prescription drug costs for millions of American seniors, and tack on new taxpayer costs.

It also could result in millions of seniors losing their lower-cost preferred pharmacy plan and being forced into a more expensive prescription drug plan.

Click here to email your members of Congress today .

Urge them to reject any and all efforts that would mess with your Medicare drug plan and force you to pay more.
By proadAccountId-404241 22 Jan, 2018
1. Senate panel approves HHS-nominee, who says he would 'encourage competition from generics' to lower drug prices ( MassDevice )

2. Big pharma's TV ad spending increased to $3.45 billion in 2017. ( Fierce Pharma )

3. The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit is under attack ( Affordable Pharmacy Action Network )

4. FDA chief highlights efforts at 'promoting drug competition and access when it comes to generic medicines' ( FDA.gov )

5. Is this big drug maker 'abusing the patent system'? ( Bloomberg )
By proadAccountId-404241 13 Jan, 2018
1. HHS Secretary-desginee Azar 'touted pharmacy benefit managers as the most effective way to bring consumer (drug) costs down' ( Modern Healthcare )

2. New drug treatment cures blindness, but the price tag is $850,000 per patient ( Fox News )

3. The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit is under attack ( Affordable Pharmacy Action Network )

4. Report: Price of Humira has doubled since 2012 ( New York Times )

5. FDA chief lists opioids, generic Rx competition as top priorities ( MedPage Today )
By proadAccountId-404241 05 Jan, 2018
1. The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit is under attack ( Affordable Pharmacy Action Network )

2. New drug approvals by FDA doubled in 2017 ( Reuters )

3. Justice Department going after opioid 'pill mills' ( Bloomberg )

4. Company hikes cancer drug price by 1400% in four years ( Merinews )

5. FDA Chief has made good on promise to increase competition to combat high drug costs ( Bloomberg )
By proadAccountId-404241 27 Dec, 2017
Big drug makers and other special interests are right now lobbying Congress and the Administration to fundamentally overhaul the Medicare prescription drug benefit (Medicare Part D).

This agenda pushed by special interests would increase premiums, raise prescription drug costs for millions of American seniors, and tack on new taxpayer costs.

It also could result in millions of seniors losing their lower-cost preferred pharmacy plan and being forced into a more expensive prescription drug plan.

Click here to email your members of Congress today .

Urge them to reject any and all efforts that would mess with your Medicare drug plan and force you to pay more.
By proadAccountId-404241 22 Dec, 2017
1. Drug Industry Spent Millions To Squelch Talk About High Drug Prices ( Kaiser Health News )

2. Global Sales for Pharma Industry Jumped 45% to $775 Billion from 2006 to 2015. ( STAT News )

3. Big Brand Drugmaker Fined Nearly $30 Million for Running a "Smear Campaign” to Thwart Generic Competition ( STAT News )

4. DEA Agents Frustrated by Lack of Action in Unlawful Opioid Distribution Case Involving Major Drug Distributor ( Washington Post )

5. Another Court Ruling Could Pave the Way for Swifter Approval of Lower-Cost Biosimilar Drugs ( Courthouse News Service )
By proadAccountId-404241 15 Dec, 2017
1. Reducing the cost of drugs by ''encouraging competition," among FDA's 2018 policy goals ( FDA Blog )

2. E-Prescribing a Simple, Safe, Efficient Solution to Addressing America's Opioid Crisis ( Affordable Pharmacy Action Network )

3. Lawsuits: Drugmakers gave kickbacks to nurses to promote diabetes drugs ( STAT News )

4. Tide is finally turning for patient access to U.S. biosimilars ( The Hill )

5. High drug prices lead people to skip taking their medicine ( New York Times )
By proadAccountId-404241 13 Dec, 2017

America's opioid crisis is real, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

According to the CDC, "deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have more than quadrupled since 1999."

To be sure, there are a number of common sense solutions policymakers could take to address the crisis, but one of the most effective would be to  require E-prescribing (e-Rx) for controlled substances .

E-prescribing has been shown to dramatically reduce medication errors and fraud, and an increasing number of states now require its use. E-prescribing of controlled substances would help circumvent pharmacy shopping, enable better prescription tracking, and reduce fraud.

New York implemented e-prescribing for controlled substances in March 2016. A report by Surescripts shows that 98.1% of New York pharmacies are e-Rx enabled, and 91.9% of controlled prescriptions are sent electronically.

Click here to view the Surescripts report to see how e-Rx is growing in states across the country. 

As e-Rx grows in the states, it provides a model that could be adopted at the federal level, especially in Medicare Part D.

E-prescribing is proving to be a safe, efficient, simple way to address America's opioid crisis.

Federal policymakers should look to the states and use their successful e-Rx model to apply nationwide -- certainly within the Medicare Part D program, in which a growing number of prescriptions involve opioid medications.

H.R. 3528, the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act , would require e-prescribing for controlled substances in Medicare Part D.

By proadAccountId-404241 08 Dec, 2017
1. Generic competition incentivizes drug maker to slash cost of Viagra ( Fortune )

2. What are biosimilars and how can they reduce drug costs? ( Affordable Pharmacy Action Network )

3. Generic Rx competition, expediting access to biosimilars, will reduce drug costs "in a stroke" ( Newsweek )

4. Growth in retail drug spending freefalls ( FiercePharma )

5. The rate of spending on Rx in the U.S. slowed in 2016 ( The Pink Sheet—tiered subscription )
By proadAccountId-404241 07 Dec, 2017

The term “biosimilars” has been in the news a lot lately, not just in terms of the benefits they can provide, but also regarding their role in helping to reduce drug costs.

What are biosimilars?

According to a recent report by the RAND Corporation, they are "biosimilar versions of complex biologic drugs used to treat illnesses such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis."

“Biologics are complex, protein-based drugs manufactured in living systems and include insulin, monoclonal antibodies to block inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, and a range of drugs to treat cancer, multiple sclerosis and other serious diseases,” notes the RAND report.

Alex Brill of Matrix Global Advisors writes in a recent paper that, “Biosimilars are less expensive copies of these highly complex pharmaceuticals” that are just beginning to enter the U.S. market.

How can they reduce costs?

Brill’s paper notes that “Biologics are among the most expensive drugs available and represent a large and increasing share of U.S. drug spending.”

According to the RAND report, “While biologics are important treatments for many conditions, they often are expensive and patient copays for the treatments can be several thousand dollars per year.

“While 1 percent to 2 percent of the nation’s population is treated with a biologic each year, the drugs accounted for 38 percent of prescription drug spending in 2015,” continues the report. “In addition, biologics accounted for 70 percent of the growth in prescription drug spending in the U.S. between 2010 and 2015.”

Biosimilar medicines offer the potential to improve the cost-effectiveness of medicines by driving competition with the higher-cost biologic drugs.

How much can they save?

RAND finds that increased introduction of biosimilars could cut U.S. health care spending by $54 billion over the next decade.

“Biologics account for the fastest-growing segment of prescription drug spending, but biosimilars have the potential to help slow some of the increase,” said Andrew Mulcahy, lead author of the study and a policy researcher at RAND.

Brill agrees about the cost-saving potential of biosimilars and notes in his report that the key is providing incentives for physicians to prescribe biosimilars could increase utilization and reduce costs.

Increasing competition to reduce drug costs: Biosimilars are one option moving forward.


By proadAccountId-404241 01 Dec, 2017
1.   Pharma charity under fire for letting drug makers access data ( STAT News )

2. FDA announces plan to speed generic versions of treatments that combine a drug and a device ( Forbes )

3. Big drug maker pays $94 million to resolve allegations it made 'fraduluent patents' to delay generic Rx competition ( Becker's Hospital Review )

4. Justice Department announces new funding to help combat Rx opioid abuse ( AL.com/Washington Post )

5. HHS nominee says drug costs are 'top priority,' says he will work to increase competition between generic and brand name Rx ( Health Care Dive )
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