Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Major #Pharma Companies Sued for Colluding to Raise Insulin Prices

Major #Pharma Companies Sued for Colluding to Raise Insulin Prices | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

The latest dustup over the rising price of insulin has found its way to a federal court, where several consumers are accusing the three biggest manufacturers — Sanofi, Eli Lilly, and Novo Nordisk — of running a coordinated scheme that has caused patients economic harm.

 

The lawsuit arrives two months after Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) asked the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the companies for price collusion. They cited a pattern in which prices for insulin often rose in tandem over several years and expressed concern the drug makers conspired to raise prices and, as a result, drove up the cost for patients and taxpayers.

 

Indeed, the lawsuit makes similar allegations, charging the companies raised prices on their drugs by more than 150 percent and that, as a result, some consumers pay almost $900 each month. “Drugs that used to cost $25 per prescription now cost between $300 and $450 a month,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Boston and seeks class-action status.

 

The latest accusations follow months of reports about skyrocketing costs for insulin (read “Soaring Insulin Prices Impact Patients Every Day!”; http://sco.lt/7iQKZt ).

 

A study last year, for instance, in the Journal of the American Medical Association found the price for a milliliter of insulin climbed 197 percent from $4.34 per to $12.92 between 2002 and 2013. More than 29 million Americans, or 9.3 percent of the population, have some form of diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

Pharma Guy's insight:

Also read “Sanofi & Novo Nordisk Raise Diabetes Drug Prices in "Lockstep" With One Another”; http://sco.lt/7sltK5  and “Why Is Insulin So Expensive In The U.S.?”; http://sco.lt/9K9FJJ  and “Soaring Insulin Prices Impact Patients Every Day!”; http://sco.lt/7iQKZt 

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Are There Too Many “Me Too” Insulin Products on the Market?

Are There Too Many “Me Too” Insulin Products on the Market? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

How many long-acting insulin products does the market really need?  According to insurers, not many.  In talking with some physician thought leaders they have said that even when patients come in to request certain insulin pens that it’s really up to the patient’s insurer which one is covered. Are they concerned?  Not really as most patients still trust their doctor to recommend what’s best.  However, as a couple of doctors informed me “patient’s are a lot more savvy today”. “They know that their insurers are making mire and more treatment option decisions and they aren’t too happy about it”.

Can me-too drugs succeed despite the barriers?  Yes, if pharma companies can prove better patient outcomes and efficacies and communicate that to health plan managers.  Another way, though, would be through enhanced patient support that have been clinically tested and clearly show that they increase compliance and adherence thus lowering long term costs.

Are mobile apps an option?  According to most doctors the answer is “no” until apps are shown to be both accurate and actually used by patients.  Not too long ago, for example, I sat in some market research with cardiologists who said that they didn’t believe any of the mobile apps for CV provided accurate results. For more on that, read “Too Many mHealth Apps Are Failing the Usability Test”; http://sco.lt/7VF9H7 

Pharma Guy's insight:

With all the “me-too” insulin products on the market, why are insulin prices “soaring? Read, for example, “Soaring Insulin Prices Impact Patients Every Day!”; http://sco.lt/7iQKZt

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Soaring Insulin Prices Impact Patients Every Day!

Soaring Insulin Prices Impact Patients Every Day! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Insulin is fast becoming a medication that only the well-insured or well-heeled diabetic can afford.

 

With the price of insulin more than tripling in a decade, some diabetics are having to make tough choices about how to pay for the medication. In some cases, diabetics are cutting back or even going without the drug. Many of the 26 million Americans with diabetes must use insulin daily to treat the disease, or else risk illnesses such as kidney failure and disabilities such as blindness.

 

The focus on EpiPen pricing is prompting some diabetics to ask why similar attention isn’t being given to insulin costs. Reading about the reaction to the price-spike for EpiPens prompted Bailey to reach out to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to investigate, as well as two diabetes organizations.

 

“I’m just in shock that this is allowed to happen,” she said. “EpiPens are for emergencies, and I’m glad Congress is doing something. But I have to use insulin all day, every day. It’s not just for emergencies.”

 

For chart info, read “Expenditures and Prices of Antihyperglycemic Medications in the United States: 2002-2013”; http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2510902

Pharma Guy's insight:

Also read “Sanofi & Novo Nordisk Raise Diabetes Drug Prices in "Lockstep" With One Another”; http://sco.lt/7sltK5 and “Why Is Insulin So Expensive In The U.S.?”; http://sco.lt/9K9FJJ

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Google Celebrates Discovery of Insulin to Treat Diabetes. First Search Result -> High Prices!

Google Celebrates Discovery of Insulin to Treat Diabetes. First Search Result -> High Prices! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Millions of people around the world suffer from diabetes, but until the 1920s there was no treatment for it.

 

Sir Frederick Banting was a Canadian scientist whose pioneering work using insulin to treat diabetes earned him the Nobel prize. He only lived to be 49 but on November 14 - what would have been his 125th birthday - Google has celebrated him with a commemorative Doodle.

 

November 14 is also World Diabetes Day.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Also read “Sanofi & Novo Nordisk Raise Diabetes Drug Prices in "Lockstep" With One Another”; http://sco.lt/7sltK5 and “Why Is Insulin So Expensive In The U.S.?”; http://sco.lt/9K9FJJ and “Soaring Insulin Prices Impact Patients Every Day!”; http://sco.lt/7iQKZt

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Novo Nordisk and Indy Driver Charlie Kimball: Perhaps the Longest Lasting Celebrity-Pharma Partnership!

Novo Nordisk and Indy Driver Charlie Kimball: Perhaps the Longest Lasting Celebrity-Pharma Partnership! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Every racecar driver has sponsors. But not every driver depends on its car sponsor the way Charlie Kimball does: He has type 1 diabetes and uses Novo Nordisk ($NVO) meds daily. And not every sponsor gets the articulate marketing backup that Kimball provides.

 

Last weekend, Kimball finished his 100th race in the Novo Nordisk IndyCar with no signs of slowing down the successful partnership.

 

Kimball first met with Novo Nordisk in 2008, introduced by his endocrinologist a year after finding out at that he had Type 1 diabetes. He was already using Novo treatments, and so his doctor thought the pharma might be interested in the young race car driver's story. The company was. Novo Nordisk and Kimball struck a partnership in 2009, starting with the brand on his racing suit and a few speaking engagements.

 

Novo first signed on as Kimball's primary car sponsor in 2011 under the Chip Ganassi Racing team. While details of that deal aren't public, Bloomberg estimates that the cost of a primary Indy car sponsorship starts at $5 million to $9 million for the side pod, another $1 million to $2 million for the front wind and $300,000-$900,000 for the cockpit and tail.

 

But the team-up soon expanded beyond paint colors and car logos. Impressed with Kimball's combination of driving grit and genuine dedication to fans and diabetes awareness, Novo rolled out the “Race With Insulin” education campaign in 2013 [This is incorrect. Pharmaguy blogged about the @racewithinsulin campaign back in 2009. See here; http://bit.ly/3SM9wL Also, listen to this 2009 interview: “Novo Nordisk's Race With Insulin Campaign: It's Not Just About Twitter”; http://sco.lt/8GXLJh ]. That same year, Kimball became the first driver with Type 1 diabetes to win a major IndyCar race.

 

Celebrity endorsements are not always so cohesive and effective. Brands can run into issues that cause celebs to disavow them, as Sarah Jessica Parker recently did with Mylan's EpiPen amid the company's pricing debacle. Other times, as Novo knows, celebrities' behavior can cause a rift: The Danish drugmaker faced negative publicity and a split with Paula Deen after she admitted to using racist language [read “Should Novo Nordisk Dump Deen?; http://bit.ly/10gwOFW - They did!].

 

Meanwhile, November is Diabetes Awareness Month, coming just after the season ends, and Kimball will spend the month traveling with Novo Nordisk and other ambassadors, including basketball player Dominque Wilkins, country music singer RaeLynn, actor Ben Vereen and rapper Rev Run, sharing their stories at speaking engagements and events.  

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