May 11, 2018
RunawayRx's Dose of Reality series helps keep the public up-to-date on pharma's latest drug pricing schemes and major happenings around the industry. Our most recent edition highlights a small town in Illinois' troublesome run-in with a pricey drug that nearly financially crippled the town, a new drug price transparency bill headed to the Governor's desk in Connecticut, and much more.
When the city of Rocklin, Illinois elected to cover the cost of health care for employees, rather than use private health coverage, city leaders could not have known that the price of a single drug would bring the town to the brink of financial ruin.
Last weekend's 60 Minutes segment examines how covering the price of Acthar - which, in 2001 was priced at $40 per vial, but now costs $40,000 per vial - led the Rocklin, Illinois Mayor Larry Morrissey on a quest to understand why the drug, that had undergone no changes or improvement, had become so expensive. But he discovered that unearthing information about pharma's pricing is no easy task: 

"It's absolute secrecy. There's an absolute opaque system of pricing for drugs in our country. That's part of the problem." 

Read the full article and watch segment  here
CT Mirror: Drug-price transparency bill passes legislature with no dissent 

"A bill designed to help Connecticut officials peer into the black box of drug pricing won final approval from a unanimous state Senate early Wednesday. Proponents of the measure called it a necessary first step toward curbing expensive prescription drug prices...
"'One of the issues that we hear time and time again in the insurance committee is the cost of health care,' said Sen. Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, the Senate Republican chair of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee, during debate on the bill. 'One of the biggest drivers of cost is the prescription health pricing.'
"'This bill is designed to bring transparency to that process and, armed with that information, we hope that we will be able to bring the cost of pharmaceuticals in Connecticut under control,' Kelly said....
"[Rep. Sean] Scanlon added the Senate's approval brought the state 'one step closer to finally holding drug companies accountable for large price increases and attaining our ultimate goal of lowering prescription drug costs for Connecticut families.'"
Read more here

View RunawayRx's updated interactive map tracking state's drug price transparency bills throughout the legislative process here.
Newsweek: Medication Keeps Getting More Expensive - And Big Pharma Won't Explain Why

"In fact, according to a report published in March by the minority staff of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, prices for the top 20 drugs prescribed to older Americans rose by an average of 12 percent annually during this five-year span. For seven of these drugs, the total increase was more than 100 percent...
"Companies demand more simply because they can. 'Prices are set at whatever the market will bear,' says Aaron Kesselheim, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital. 'That's the fundamental principle behind drug pricing in the U.S.'...
"Whatever might explain, or solve, rising drug prices, it's clear they can't continue. The 12 percent average price increase per year far outpaces the current rate of economic growth in the U.S., says Gal Wettstein, a research economist at Boston Collee's Center for Retirement Research. 'It's not sustainable,' he adds. 'We can't spend half our national income on drugs.'

Read more  here .
Kaiser Health News: 'Pharma Bro' Shkreli Is In Prison, But Daraprim's Price Is Still High 

" It was 2015 when Martin Shkreli, then CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals and the notorious "pharma bro," jacked up the cost of the lifesaving drug Daraprim by 5,000 percent. Overnight, its price tag skyrocketed from $13.50 a pill to $750.

" Shkreli, 35, is now serving  a seven-year prison term for securities fraud (unrelated to Daraprim). Turing has renamed itself Vyera Pharmaceuticals.
But Daraprim, which costs pennies to make and is used to treat the parasitic infection toxoplamosis - which is rare in the United States - still retails for more than $750 per pill, according to drug website

"Branded drugs like Daraprim are more likely to be priced high without a clear justification, noted David Howard, a health economist and professor at Emory University."

Read more  here .
For the latest updates and information on the prescription drug pricing crisis, visit the RunawayRx website:
RunawayRx | (818) 760-2121 |