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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Mylan's Patient Assistance is a "Convoluted Scheme," Says Public Citizen

Mylan's Patient Assistance is a "Convoluted Scheme," Says Public Citizen | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Mylan’s announcement of an expanded discount card system for EpiPens is a false solution that can be summed up as too little, too late.

If the company wants to calm public outrage over its contemptible and unconscionable price spikes for EpiPens, there’s only one course of action: actually lower the price.

Canadian online pharmacies offer EpiPens for a little over a $100 per pen. That would be an excessively high price, but at least within the bounds of reasonability.

Coupons, discount cards and patient assistance programs are a false solution for consumers hit with gigantic out-of-pocket costs. First, many consumers will not use the coupons or the programs. Second, many consumers with high deductibles or no insurance will still need to pay far too much for EpiPens – $300 for a set of two – a problem made worse by the facts that many families purchase multiple sets of EpiPens and that EpiPens must be replaced every year.

Equally as important, coupons and discount cards do virtually nothing to alleviate the rip-off of the health care system, for which all Americans pay as consumers and taxpayers. Because of the opacity in the pharmaceutical market, we don’t know what private and public insurers actually pay for EpiPens, but there’s no question that the price is higher than it would be if Mylan’s retail price were lower.

Mylan’s scheme is a convoluted effort to avoid plain talk about price. It is an excellent example of how corporations are gaming the health care system with elaborate show offers that allow them to continue to price gouge the rest of us.

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Turing's Patient Assistance Program Better Than Pfizer's, Although...

Turing's Patient Assistance Program Better Than Pfizer's, Although... | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
Shocker!


The company says that Daraprim will will be available to hospitals at a discounted rate, and insists that keeping the list price at $750 will not affect patient’s out of pocket costs — the patient will be charged around $10 per pill and the insurance company will cover the rest of the cost.


They also say that they will offer the pill free of charge to “uninsured, qualified patients with demonstrated income at or below 500 percent of the federal poverty level through our Patient Assistance Program.”

Pharma Guy's insight:

Pfizer recently doubled its income eligibility for its PAP program to FOUR times the Federal Poverty Level. For more on that: http://sco.lt/7seJI9 


How many insurance plans refuse to pay for Daraprim? How many have a much higher co-pay than $10? And how many patients qualify for the PAP program?

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Turing Testimony Changes Perception of #Pharma Patient Assistance Programs

Turing Testimony Changes Perception of #Pharma Patient Assistance Programs | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

During a recent House hearing on drug pricing, Turing Pharmaceuticals chief commercial officer Nancy Retzlaff, on the stand to testify about a 5,000% price increase on the firm's toxoplasmosis treatment Daraprim, defended the dramatic hike in part by noting that the drugmaker provides access through patient assistance programs. 


Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform weren't impressed that Turing's strategy, put in place by embattled ex-CEO Martin Shkreli, was good for patients.


“Turing employed a PR strategy to divert attention to patient assistance programs and research and development efforts,” charged Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), based on disclosures released in documents obtained by the committee. “In other words, instead of keeping the price so it could be purchased by patients and hospitals, you went to patient assistance programs to try to obscure the price.”


The testy exchange signals a shift in the perception of a tactic that industry may once have considered the very essence of what it means to be patient centric. Affordability is no longer an unassailable talking point for industry.


Pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts was one critic saying that Turing's drug is a poor example of the benefits of patient assistance programs. The medicine has been on the market for decades and was acquired in August by Turing, which raised the price and set off a furor about drug-pricing practices in the US.


“This is an old, simple generic medication, and it shouldn't have a price high enough to even warrant a patient assistance program for low-income patients,” says David Whitrap, a company spokesperson.


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