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After Confusion Over EpiPen Profits, Lawmakers Want Proof Of Drug’s Actual Costs

When Mylan CEO Heather Bresch recently testified before the House Oversight Committee, she claimed that the company only made $50 per EpiPen, in spite of charging $608 per two-pack of the emergency allergy medicine. Mylan then said it makes around $80/EpiPen — a figure that lawmakers still doubted. Now the leadership of the Oversight Committee is asking Mylan to clear things up for everyone by turning over documents that actually show how much the company makes from EpiPen. [More]

David Blackwell

One Free Meal From A Pharma Sales Rep May Be Enough To Change Doctors’ Prescribing Habits

Your physician may have any number of degrees, honors, certifications, and other framed pieces of paper mounted to their office walls, but does any of that make them less susceptible to a glad-handing pharmaceutical sales rep who comes armed with some reading materials, free samples, and a lunch charged to their expense account? [More]

Joel Zimmer

5 Reasons Prescription Drug Prices Are Going Up For Many Americans

If you feel like you’re paying more for medication, you’re not alone. A new investigation from our colleagues at Consumer Reports finds that one-third of Americans are seeing higher prices for prescriptions, and one-in-six people chose to avoid getting a prescription filled because of the cost. So what’s behind the increased cost of staying well? [More]

How Well Do You Know The Real Names Of The Drugs You Take?

Steven Depolo

Ads for prescription and over-the-counter drugs are everywhere, so much so that we’ve become accustomed to hearing and seeing the brand name of a medication immediately followed by a parenthetical containing the generic name [ex: Valtrex (valacyclovir)], but how well have we been paying attention to these ads? Are we now so savvy that we immediately know that Chantix is the trade name for varenicline, or have we become so inured to these ads that we aren’t paying any attention? [More]

frankieleon

Drug Companies Subpoenaed Over Questionable Charity Connections

Whenever there is a report of a drug company jacking up the price of a prescription medication, the pharma industry is often quick to point out that there are non-profit charities ready and willing to help patients get these drugs at a more affordable rate. However, those charities may have very close ties to the drug maker that could not only help the company turn a profit, but avoid some tax obligations. In recent months, several large pharmaceutical companies have been subpoenaed as part of an ongoing federal investigation into these connections. [More]

Michael G. Chan

Health Insurers Looking To Pay Less When Drugs Don’t Work As Advertised

If a drug maker says their new prescription medication will reduce cholesterol by a certain percentage, or that it will counter symptoms of some chronic illness, but it doesn’t quite live up to its marketing, should the insurance companies still pay the price they originally agreed to? A growing number of insurers are making deals that tie the price of a drug to its real-world performance. [More]

CharlesWilliams

New Warning Labels Coming To Opioid Painkillers

A week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called on physicians to stop prescribing opioid painkillers when less-problematic therapeutic treatments will do the trick, another federal agency is joining in the effort to alert consumers to the potential risks of using these frequently prescribed medications. [More]

Martin Shkreli Pleads The Fifth To Everything, Even When Asked About Wu-Tang Clan

Martin Shkreli Pleads The Fifth To Everything, Even When Asked About Wu-Tang Clan

Like a small child who refuses to eat his dinner but remains steadfast at his seat until his parents finally relent and let him go to his room, controversial pharmaceuticals investor Martin Shkreli — best known for jacking up the price of an important HIV treatment by 5,400% in a single day — sat before a Congressional panel this morning and repeatedly cited his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, even when it involved his expensive taste in hip-hop. [More]

What Does It Take To Get On The FDA’s “Most Wanted” List?

What Does It Take To Get On The FDA’s “Most Wanted” List?

We all know that law enforcement agencies like the FBI and Interpol publish lists of fugitives wanted for things like murder, armed robbery, terrorism, and kidnappings. But did you know that the Food and Drug Administration also maintains a list of “Most Wanted” fugitives? [More]

American Medical Association Calls To Ban Ads For Prescription Drugs, Medical Devices

American Medical Association Calls To Ban Ads For Prescription Drugs, Medical Devices

In the future when you tune in to watch the big game or your favorite primetime show there might be something missing during the commercial break: ads for prescription drugs and medical devices. The American Medical Association proposed a ban on such advertisements Tuesday, claiming the marketing may be driving consumer demand for unnecessary and expensive treatments.  [More]

Senate Investigating Drug Companies Behind Huge Overnight Price Hikes

Senate Investigating Drug Companies Behind Huge Overnight Price Hikes

A handful of pharmaceutical investors have been snapping up the rights to previously affordable prescription drugs, only to immediately raise prices to the point where patients now pay hundreds of dollars for a single pill — resulting in huge additional costs for consumers, insurers, and healthcare providers. Not only has this practice drawn the ire of the medical community, it’s also resulted in a Senate committee investigation. [More]

The makers of Doryx are currently being sued by a company that claims last-minute tweaks to the acne medication have delayed the availability of a generic equivalent.

How Drug Companies Use “Product Hopping” To Fight Off Affordable Generic Drugs

You’re probably used to the idea of your doctor prescribing you a brand-name drug and your pharmacist automatically substituting a lower-cost generic equivalent that saves you, the drugstore, and your insurer money. But there’s practice known in the industry as “product hopping” that brand-name drug makers can use to repeatedly delay generic versions from reaching consumers. [More]

(Felix E. Guerrero)

CVS/Caremark Dropping Viagra From Drug Formulary

Patients who use the erectile dysfunction pill Viagra and whose health insurance drug coverage is through CVS/Caremark will have to pay cash or switch to Cialis: the pharmacy benefits administrator has removed the drug from its formulary, which is a fancy word for “list of drugs that we’ll pay for.” [More]

FDA Warns About Mixups Between Drugs With Similar Names

FDA Warns About Mixups Between Drugs With Similar Names

Here’s a scary thought: dangerous medication mixups could begin at your doctor’s office. The FDA put out a warning today that they’ve received reports of mixups between similarly-named drugs that do very different things. The FDA urges patients and caregivers to know what the drug they’re supposed to be taking looks like, and alert medical providers if the drug that they receive looks different. [More]

(D O'Quinn)

FDA Approves First “Biosimilar” Drug. Could Drive Down Cost Of Most Expensive Medications

Biotech drugs — which are generally derived from a living organism, as opposed to traditional purely chemical medications — are currently among the most expensive medicines available. But today, the Food and Drug Administration issued its first approval of a drug that is “biosimilar” to an existing biotech medication; a development that could possibly result in billions of dollars in savings. [More]

Anti-Anxiety Pill Contains Metal Shard, Makes Patient Anxious

Anti-Anxiety Pill Contains Metal Shard, Makes Patient Anxious

People routinely cut or snap pills in half to change their dose or save money by taking half of a larger dose. Generally, they don’t expect to find anything inside when they do so. One woman in Denver was dividing her medicine, a generic version of the antianxiety drug Buspar, and noticed a metal shard. Just what anyone needs: more things to be anxious about. [More]

FDA May Trim Some Of Those Lengthy Warnings In Prescription Drug Ads

FDA May Trim Some Of Those Lengthy Warnings In Prescription Drug Ads

We’re all familiar with prescription drug commercials that are basically 5 seconds about how there’s some awesome drug for your “moderate-to-severe” fill-in-the-blank condition, followed by 25 seconds of happy families playing in parks accompanied by the sound of speed-red disclosures about a vast array of warnings and possible side effects. The FDA is now looking for you opinion about whether it should look into trimming down all that fine print. [More]

(TMQ.st.louis)

Do Prescription Drug Coupons Lead To Higher Insurance Rates For Everyone?

If you’ve been to a website for a brand-name prescription drug in the past few years, you’re probably familiar with coupons offering huge discounts or copayment assistance to patients. For the drug maker, it’s a way to hopefully steer customers away from lower-cost alternatives, and it may seem like a good deal to the consumer. But a new report says that in the long run, these coupons could ding the bank accounts of both those who use the coupons and the rest of us who are just trying to keep up with our insurance premiums. [More]