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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2016 Access to Medicine Index. GSK Tops the List, Roche & Astellas at Bottom, Pfizer Not So Much

2016 Access to Medicine Index. GSK Tops the List, Roche & Astellas at Bottom, Pfizer Not So Much | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

This new analysis by the Access to Medicine Foundation shows which large pharmaceutical companies are marketing the most essential medicines and vaccines. It matches companies’ on-market portfolios with the WHO Model Essential Medicines List (EML), which identifies medicines considered crucial for meeting people’s health-care needs.

 

The Access to Medicine Index analyses the top 20 research-based pharmaceutical companies on how they make medicines, vaccines and diagnostics more accessible in low- and middle-income countries. It highlights best and innovative practices, and areas where progress has been made and where action is still required. It has been published every two years since 2008.

 

The 2016 Index used a framework of 83 metrics to measure company performances relating to 51 high-burden diseases in 107 countries. For the 2016 Index, the weight of the performance pillar was increased to 50%. The framework is reviewed every two years, with reference to the Expert Review Committee of independent experts, from, among others, the WHO, governments, patient organisations, the industry, academia and investors. This process ensures that Index metrics express what stakeholders expect from pharmaceutical companies.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Related articles:

  • “Pharma Not Pleased with UN Panel Report Urging Wider Access to Medicines”; http://sco.lt/6znt6v
  • “Pfizer Can Fix It! Expands its Patient Assistance Program, Doubling the Income Eligibility for Free Meds”; http://sco.lt/7seJI9
  • “Drug Coupons: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, Says Harvard Researcher”; http://sco.lt/9M7VZJ
  • “Rx Drug Coupons: Lower Costs at First, But You Pay More Later”; http://sco.lt/4jpt0z
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Discount Rx Drug Coupons Lower Price of Drugs, But Not How You Think They Do

Discount Rx Drug Coupons Lower Price of Drugs, But Not How You Think They Do | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Consider [Rx drug] coupons. Over the past several years, drug makers have used these to entice consumers to fill their prescriptions, since coupons defray or eliminate copay costs. In 2009, coupons were available for fewer than 100 prescription medicines, but the number exceeded 700 by last year, according to the analysis released on Tuesday by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. The study was funded by Pfizer.

 

Drug makers contend coupons help consumers who might otherwise have difficulty affording their medicines as insurance requires them to shoulder a greater share of the cost. This “can be a real barrier to patient access to medicines, and coupons can help break that barrier down,” the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the industry trade group, wrote in a 2012 blog post on its web site.

 

Studies have shown, however, that coupons are a mixed bag.

 

A 2013 analysis in The New England Journal of Medicine found that 62 percent of coupons were available for brand-name drugs for which lower-cost options existed. But a 2014 study in Health Affairs found coupons reduced consumer costs for expensive specialty drugs to less than $250 a month, suggesting patients may be less likely to forego their medications.

 

Pharmacy benefit managers, which negotiate deals with drug companies and manage lists of covered medicines called formularies, argue that coupons are a ruse. As Tufts notes, pharmacy benefit managers and insurers believe coupons are increasingly used by drug makers to negate the exclusion of certain drugs from formularies, and other efforts in order to weed out less effective drugs and to lower costs.

 

So over the last few years, the nation’s two largest pharmacy benefit managers have been excluding more drugs from their formularies. CVS Caremark excluded 124 drugs in 2016, a 63 percent increase since 2014, while Express Scripts excluded 80 drugs in 2016, a 67 percent rise since 2014, according to Tufts. Significantly, coupons were available for more than 90 percent of the drugs that were excluded.

 

“The leverage gained by pharmacy benefits manager, by way of exclusions, puts downward pressure on prices of (certain) drugs,” said Joshua Cohen, a health economist at Tufts who coauthored the analysis.

Pharma Guy's insight:

The FDA is concerned that the use of sales promotions such as free trial offers, discounts, money-back guarantees, and rebates in direct-to-consumer (DTC) prescription drug ads "artificially enhance consumers' perceptions of the product's quality" while also resulting in an "unbalanced or misleading impression of the product's safety." (read "Drug Ads & Coupons"; http://bit.ly/fdacouponstudy). Also: "Rx Drug Coupons: Lower Costs at First, But You Pay More Later"; http://sco.lt/4jpt0z 

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Drug Coupons: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, Says Harvard Researcher

Drug Coupons: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, Says Harvard Researcher | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

The negative effects of coupons have long been suspected, but a pair of new papers, one published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine and one that will be published by the National Bureau of Economic Research next week, are the first to precisely measure the effect.

 

A research team from Harvard, Northwestern and the University of California, Los Angeles, looked at brand-name drugs that also had generic equivalents. When drug companies offered a coupon for the brand-name version, more patients stuck with the more expensive brand-name drug, and the company raised the prices on such drugs faster than it did for drugs for which no coupon was available.

 

Altogether, the researchers estimate that coupons for 23 such drugs with a generic alternative resulted in an extra $700 million to $2.7 billion in spending on drugs over five years. (Because generic drugs are required to be biologically identical to their brand-name cousins, the more expensive brand-name version doesn’t make patients any healthier.)

 

“These are wolves in sheep’s clothing,” said Leemore Dafny, a professor at Harvard Business School and a co-author of the research. “These efforts to help consumers bear the cost of their drugs are actually driving higher spending without commensurate health benefits.”

 

“When conflicts get difficult in health care between the different entities, we too often let the consequences of that conflict spill over onto sick people,” said Peter Bach, a physician and director of the center for health policy and outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital. In a recent paper, he and a co-author argued for an array of policies that would get financial help to patients while avoiding some of the coupons’ more distorting effects. Ultimately, he argued, the country needs a better way to price and pay for drugs.

Pharma Guy's insight:

"Consumers need to see that there are real costs to using coupons – costs that drive up their premiums and their employers costs for health care. Forgoing copay coupons and using lower cost drug also helps save funds that they may need later, or that their coworkers need for the really expensive drugs with no alternatives.

As more and more drugs lose their patent protection and become available at competitive prices, consumers should use these first, and take advantage of market competition to keep our health care costs down."

 

Read more here: “Rx Drug Coupons: Lower Costs at First, But You Pay More Later”; http://sco.lt/4jpt0z

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Rx Drug Coupons: Lower Costs at First, But You Pay More Later

Rx Drug Coupons: Lower Costs at First, But You Pay More Later | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Prescription drug sales in the U.S. totaled well over $300 billion in 2013. Medications are expensive, and especially new drugs often come with a very high price tag. But these days, consumers can cut down drug prices with the help of coupons, just like the ones you use for detergent or your favorite cookies.. Pharma coupons are available online, in magazines, and, at doctor's offices.


Coupons disrupt one of the fundamental systems that control healthcare costs. "For example, there may be two cholesterol drugs out there that are essentially equivalent in how well they work," said David Grande, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. An insurance company might be able to negotiate a price for one of those medications for $25 a month, where the price for the other is $100 a month, so the insurance company tries to steer patients toward the cheaper drug. They do so by assigning higher copays for the more expensive drug. "Now, the drug company gives you a coupon that makes that co-pay go away or very low. Now a whole bunch of people want the more expensive medication," said Grande. "From a patient perspective, it seems like a great deal. From insurance company perspective, they are now spending a lot more money than they planned." And that, says Grande, ultimately increases our health insurance premiums.


He adds that there's also a bit of "bait and switch" that affects consumers wallets' directly, because coupons often only impact the first couple of drug purchases. "People want to stay on on meds they are comfortable with for years but all of a sudden their monthly co-pays go up a lot," said Grande.

Pharma Guy's insight:


Does it help the consumer in the long run to trick them into using a coupon, and passing on $120 in costs to their health plan, when they could buy a low-cost drug that is just as effective with no cost to their employer or health plan?

"Consumers need to see that there are real costs to using coupons – costs that drive up their premiums and their employers costs for health care. Forgoing copay coupons and using lower cost drug also helps save funds that they may need later, or that their coworkers need for the really expensive drugs with no alternatives.

As more and more drugs lose their patent protection and become available at competitive prices, consumers should use these first, and take advantage of market competition to keep our health care costs down."

more...
No comment yet.