ACHP Media Report: Pharmacy News – January 6, 2017

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Resource: ACHP Prescription Drug Efforts

Presidential Transition Brief
Until inauguration on January 20, ACHP will provide updates on the presidential transition.

– President-elect Donald Trump has selected former Senator Dan Coats (R-IN) to serve as Director of National Intelligence.

– President-elect Donald Trump has announced key domestic policy advisors:

  • Andrew Bremberg will serve as Director of the Domestic Policy Council. Bremberg is a former Health and Human services staffer and was an advisor in Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) office.
  • Paul Winfree will serve as Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council. Winfree is an economist and is currently acting as the director of the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
  • Katy Talento will oversee health care policy. Talento has served as a policy advisor to five senators over the past 12 years.

– Confirmation hearings for Donald Trump’s nominees for Cabinet positions begin Monday. Politico has created an annotated schedule of the hearings.

Prescription drug spending continues to cause concern
Medicare Part D catastrophic coverage spending was more than $30 billion in 2015, triple the amount spent in 2010. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General released a report on Thursday attributing the increase to high-price drugs. Catastrophic coverage is designed to kick in after maximum out-of-pocket limits are met. Medicare covers 80 percent of those costs, the rest of which is shared by the consumer and his or her private insurance. Michelle Hackman of The Wall Street Journal explains addressing the issue of increasing drug spend continues to be a priority and is on the agenda for the incoming administration (subscriber’s content).

Prescription drug price increases are projected to continue in 2017 at a faster rate than employment wages and cost of living. Segal Consulting projects prices will increase by more than 10 percent for individuals under 65 years of age and by just under 10 percent for those over 65. Aimee Picchi of CBS News notes this may change with President-elect Donald Trump’s plans to tackle high drug prices.

PBMs and Biden take action on drug pricing
Vice President Joe Biden plans to create a non-profit organization focused on cancer-related issues to cancer, including the high price and inaccessibility of drug treatments, after he leaves office. The non-profit organization will be an extension of his “cancer moonshot” efforts. Laurie McGinley of The Washington Post has the story.

CVS Caremark, a national pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), plans to challenge increasing drug prices by discontinuing coverage of brand drug Lantus in favor of the generic biosimilar Basaglar. According to drug discount research company GoodRx, Lantus has seen a price increase of 60 percent between 2013 and 2016, which reflects the overall trend among insulin drugs. While patients are often concerned by formulary changes, Jayne O’Donnell of USA Today discusses the exceptions for consumers if they experience a negative reaction to the medication change.

Judge rules onPCSK9 patent dispute
In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration approved two PCSK9 inhibitor drugs designed to treat cholesterol, Repatha and Praulent. Early last year, Repatha’s manufacturer, Amgen Pharmaceuticals, won a patent infringement dispute with rival Praulent’s manufacturers, Sanofi and Regeneron. Sanofi and Regeneron appealed the ruling but their appeal was denied, Brendan Pierson of Reuters reports.

A U.S. district judge has ruled to ban Sanofi and Regeneron from selling Praluent for 12 years. The companies have 30 days before the ban takes effect to appeal the decision or work with Amgen to come to a mutual sales agreement. Jef Feeley, Doni Bloomfield and Susan Decker with Bloomberg share the ruling protects patent infringement, but eliminates a potential drug option for patients.