Andrew Pollock’s NY Times Article on Increasing Pressure on Drug Prices: Do Health Insurers Now Have Skin in the Game?

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In this post I will speculate very briefly about an important new development reported by Andrew Pollock of The New York Times. The subject of Pollock’s articleis how health insurers at long last appear to be putting real pressure on drug prices. Though readers of this blog will not be surprised by the discussion of how drug companies price their drugs and avoid competing on price, the heart of Pollock’s story is the recent efforts of pharmaceutical benefit managers(PBMs) to use their formularies to reduce insurers’ prescription drug costs. There has always been some use of formularies to negotiate prices: but, according to Pollock, such efforts have now greatly increased. The article highlights how PBMs are restricting their formularies much more than in the past and drug companies are confronted with the choice of reducing their prices or finding themselves excluded from coverage for most of an insurer’s patients.

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Amgen’s R&D and Roche’s Tarceva Patent Mediation In India: Risks, Prices, and the Right off Access to “Essential” Drugs

There are two stories in the recent pharma news that are completely unrelated. In this week’s post I will ponder their possible relationship. In the first story, Damien Garde of FiercePharma reported that a highly-regarded biotech industry analyst, Geoffrey Porges, is highly critical of Amgen’s ambitious and risky R&D efforts.1 In the second story, also in FiercePharma, Eric Palmer reported that a court in Delhi, India, has ordered Roche and Cipla to enter into mediation of their dispute over the patent on Roche’s cancer drug Tarceva.2
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