ACHP Media Report: Pharmacy News – January 27, 2017

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PhRMA launches ad campaign touting role in scientific advancement
The top drug lobbying firm, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), has announced an advertisement campaign highlighting scientific advancements. The new campaign focuses on immunotherapy treatments for cancer, personalized medicine and genomics used to target patient medication. Experts point out the industry has used this branding strategy in the past, but it may prove less effective due to a renewed focus on pricing practices. Carolyn Johnson of The Washington Post reports.

Drug and medical-device companies leery of Trump
After statements by President Donald Trump related to drug pricing, pharmaceutical and medical-device companies are seeking to build relationships with key health staff in the new administration. Companies are also fostering close ties with staff of key political players like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), the administration’s nominee for Health and Human Services secretary. According to Jonathan Rockoff of The Wall Street Journal, the industry is concerned changes to the Affordable Care Act could reduce the insured population, result in higher fees and taxes and more aggressive negotiations over pricing for government programs (subscriber’s content).

Report: CMS strategies for payers to address opioid issue
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a report and infographic detailing strategies for payers to identify individuals misusing opioids and fraud. A public-private sector collaboration led to the development of three strategies to agree upon five key approaches for payers. Some of these payer approaches include identifying waste, fraud and abuse through data; sharing best practices with other health care organizations; and training providers on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opioid prescribing guidelines for chronic pain. Rachel Roubein of The Hill Extra has the story.

EpiPen competitor faces resistance
Insurers and pharmacy benefit managers are pushing back against a pricing structure for Kaléo Pharma’s relaunched Auvi-Q, an alternative to Mylan’s EpiPen. Under the pricing structure, insured patients would face no out-of-pocket expenses and insurers would cover the cost. Insurers and pharmacy benefit managers are refusing to add Auvi-Q to their actuaries, arguing the pricing scheme is unacceptable, as it places unreasonable cost on payers, explains Eric Sagonowsky of FierceHealthcare. Auvi-Q has a list price of $4,500 per two pack compared to Epi-Pen’s $600 list price.

Report: Drug rebates cost Medicare beneficiaries
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a report highlighting the negative effect drug rebates have on Medicare beneficiaries. By excluding drug rebates from out-of-pocket costs, beneficiaries are reaching the catastrophic coverage threshold. As the rate of rebates increased by three percent from 2014 to 2015, Lauren Clason of The Hill Extra explains the strain continues (subscriber’s content).

Local government sues pharmaceutical company
The city of Everett, Washington, has filed a lawsuit charging Purdue Pharmaceuticals with diverting OxyContin to the black market. The city states in the lawsuit that Purdue neglected to look into suspicious orders or contact law enforcement if illegal trafficking was suspected. Ed Silverman at STAT Plus shares city officials feel the company caused extensive harm through the increase in costs for addiction treatment, rehabilitation and detox programs.