Health

Last year, unjustified price hikes for drugs cost $ 1.67 billion

Pharmaceutical companies continue to raise prices for their most profitable drugs, despite minimal annual improvements, according to a new report.

Seven of the top 10 drugs that boosted health care costs in the US in 2020 due to rising prices did not bring significant clinical benefits, according to the Institute for Clinical and Economic Research. analysis found. The price hikes for these seven drugs boosted healthcare spending by about $ 1.67 billion last year, with AbbVie’s biological rheumatoid arthritis alone accounting for $ 1.4 billion.

“My biggest problem with adalimumab (Humira) is the patents they developed to thwart competition,” said Erin Fox, senior director of Utah State University Healthcare Pharmacy, who was not involved in the report. “Biosimilar products should be made available to patients, but with minor changes such as ‘ruthless’ formulation – the patent continues to expand.”

AbbVie has been sued over multiple patents protecting Humira from competition in the U.S. until 2023. Since biosimilars of her $ 20 billion drug will hit the market in a little over a year, it’s no surprise that there is a significant jump in prices towards the end of the patent’s term, Fox added.

Humira’s net price in the US increased by about 29.6% from early 2017 to late 2020, according to an ICER report. ICER researchers started with the 250 drugs that recorded the largest sales revenue and narrowed it down to exclude products that were not available at a price increase that exceeded inflation by 2%. They also gave up drugs when spending was largely tied to increased volumes.

According to Vizient’s market forecasts, Humira will become the main driver of drug spending in 2022. worldview… But the price is expected to drop in 2023, as in other countries where AbbVie faces competition from biosimilars.

“The rise in the cost of drugs is a key factor in the rise in the cost of medical care. We agree that drug prices continue to rise without new evidence of increased benefits from existing drugs and / or any new formulations, ”said Stephen Lucio. , Vice President Pharmacy Solutions, Vizient Purchasing Group. “It is difficult to assess the usefulness of this price increase for the health care system because we do not know exactly where companies are investing the additional money they receive from the price increase.”

AbbVie challenged ICER’s “incomplete valuation,” which the company said was inherently flawed.

“Despite ICER’s own admission that it lacks the capacity to carry out the full economic analysis that would be necessary to arrive at the conclusions contained in this report, the UPI report is published without adequate context or clarity as to why ICER believes such conclusions are justified, ”AbbVie said. said in response to the message.

Drug manufacturers have adopted a number of tactics such as patent litigation, discount manipulation, and deferral payment schemes that prevent generic and biosimilar competition. For Humira, the first of five biosimilars was approved in 2016. Lagging with competitors often translates into higher health care costs, which slows down the entire system.

According to industry experts, patent law should be adjusted to prevent companies from “perpetuating” or making minor changes to a product to expand patent protection. ICER researchers write that while many companies have capped annual price increases in recent years amid public scrutiny and legislative proposals, new prescription drugs continue to be offered at higher prices.

“If US policymakers want a cost-based system that fairly aligns the price of a drug with its ability to help patients, then we need fact-based tools to assess the fairness of not only price changes but also starting prices,” wrote ICER. modern healthcare.

The FDA and the Federal Trade Commission have teamed up in 2020 to curb anti-competitive behavior in the pharmaceutical sector, including filing fictitious petitions from citizens to deter competitors. But the FTC has no authority to bring civil action against the manufacturer, Premier, a consulting and procurement group, said in a letter to the FDA.

“The Premier is urging the FDA and FTC to work with Congress to pass legislation that allows the FTC to take civil action to deter pharmaceutical companies from filing bogus citizens’ petitions to delay approval of competing generics or biosimilars,” the company wrote.

While Democrats rejected a provision from President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda that would allow Medicare to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies, politicians continue to push for it.

Democrats recently proposed legislation that would lower the cost of prescription drugs for Medicare recipients, limit Medicare’s personal spending to $ 2,000, and lower the price of insulin.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button