August 1, 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 new RunawayRx infographic shining a light on how high-priced Hepatitis C drugs are costing taxpayers more than $1 billion, pharma's empty promises of curbing drug prices, an 800 percent price hike on an existing drug, and drugmakers' unfair use of the patent system to stifle competition.
This summer, Governor Brown was again forced to set aside more than $170 million in his 2018-19 budget to cover the cost of pricey Hepatitis C treatments in public programs. This most recent call-out is just the latest in a series of budget line items that have set aside more than $1.4 billion for the medication over the past four years. 
California Association of Health Plans President & CEO, Charles Bacchi, said the following about the impacts of hefty price tags for medications treating widespread diseases, like Hep C
" High-priced drugs are exerting an undue burden on our state programs and taxpayers, while also driving up the cost of care across the board.

"In recent years, California has made great strides in reducing the ranks of the uninsured and opening up access to health care, but affordability is crucial to our continued progress and drug price increases, like these, run counter to our efforts to bring costs down."

Check out RunawayRx's latest infographic to find out more. 
Kaiser Health News:  Déjà Voodoo: Pharma's Promises To Curb Drug Prices Have Been Heard Before

"Prescription drug prices were soaring. Angry policymakers swore they'd take action. Pharma giant Merck responded by promising to address the problem voluntarily, vowing to keep price increases under the overall rate of inflation...
"That assurance wasn't made last week, when multiple drug companies offered similar pledges amid similar criticism. It was nearly three decades ago, in 1990.
"Promises by the pharmaceutical industry to contain prices are a familiar - and fleeting - phenomenon, say analysts who have watched the unstoppable rise in drug costs over the years.
"History's lesson, they say, is that price-restraint vows last only as long as it is politically necessary for companies to make them. Recent pharma pledges are unlikely to be any different, they predict."

Read more  here.
Wall Street Journal:  This Form of Ambien Now Costs Over 800% More

"A small Colorado drugmaker recently raised the price for a spray form of sleep aid Ambien by as much as 843%, the latest example of how some firms are increasing prices despite mounting pressure.
"So far this year, companies have made 3,653 price increases on 1,045 different drug products, according to Raymond James & Associates, even as President Donald Trump and other members of his administration have criticized such moves."
Read more  here.
STAT: Did AbbVie unfairly thwart competition by creating a 'patent thicket' around its Humira drug? 

"In a little noticed order, a federal judge recently raised the intriguing possibility that a so-called patent thicket - a large number of patents that a drug maker obtains to thwart rivals - might stifle competition if the patents were established as the result of some misbehavior...
"By relying on untoward behavior to create and establish its Humira patent thicket, AbbVie unfairly boxed out competitors from being able to market biosimilar versions sooner...
"Biosimilars, which are nearly identical variants of pricey, brand-name biologic medicines, are expected to cost less while providing the same result in patients. And the savings could be substantial. These medicines are forecast to save the U.S. between $27 billion and $58 billion in health care costs by 2021, according to IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, the market research arm of IQVIA.
"However, there are mounting concerns that brand-name drug makers are moving unfairly to stifle competition. In a speech last week, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb complained that 'patent thickets that are purely designed to deter the entry of approved biosimilars are spoiling ... competition.'"

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