Drug Price Controls: “Red Meat for the Left” or Russian Roulette?

Posted by Ed Schoonveld on Mon, Sep 21, 2015

Kaiser’s August healthcare poll results should put all on high alert given public sentiment and the rhetoric of the political season.  Ed Schoonveld sounds the alarm and offers four initiatives to stall the surge towards government intercession on escalating prices.

The news extensively covers criticism over prescription drug pricing. In fact, a recent Kaiser Health Tracking Poll  characterized very negative public views of the industry and strong support for government intervention in drug pricing. This should ring alarm bells in the C-suites of pharmaceutical companies.


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The Market Access Timing Dilemma

Posted by Ed Schoonveld on Mon, Aug 17, 2015

Last week, Chief Executive Paula Chadwick of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation in the United Kingdom labeled delay in NHS patients' access to cancer drugs a “disgrace” in an interview in The Guardian. The foundation was complaining that patients will not have access to immunotherapy drug Opdivo (nivolumab, BMS) until May 2016, after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has its cost-effectiveness review. Ironically, now that the drug is approved by the European Medicines Agency, availability under the Early Access to Medicines Scheme will stop. This is causing an extensive gap in availability of a drug treatment that is seen as a paradigm shift in the treatment of lung cancer. In the same article, Chadwick states: “The pharmaceutical companies want their price and the NHS has its processes, but it’s the patients here who get caught in the crossfire.” Is seems indeed reasonable to ask both parties to come to a better solution for patients.


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Is Express Scripts the New Robin Hood?

Posted by Ed Schoonveld on Fri, Jan 30, 2015

Express Scripts (ESI) has been drawing a lot of publicity recently over its strong stance on drug pricing and willingness to engage in exclusive formulary listing agreements for high-cost specialty drugs. Particularly with respect to hepatitis C drugs, ESI initiated an exclusive contract with AbbVie’s Viekira Pak (ombitasvir, paritaprevir and ritonavir tablets co-packaged with dasabuvir tablets,) which came second to market after Gilead’s Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and Harvoni (sofosbuvir and ledipasvir).


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Top Three Issues in Market Access?

Posted by Ed Schoonveld on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

The prescription drug industry is under a lot of change with the Affordable Care Act, heavy drug pricing debates for oncology and hepatitis C, and many system reforms in Europe.


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Cost of Developing a New Drug

Posted by Ed Schoonveld on Fri, Dec 19, 2014

Research and development (R&D) cost for prescription drugs is often a central theme to the drug-pricing debate. It is indeed one of the reasons why drug cost can sometimes be very high. The argument never seems to really hold water with anybody, particularly for individual drugs that exceed market expectations, where payers and the public sometimes argue that there should be opportunities to lower price. The Price of Global Health (Second Edition) goes more in depth on the drug-pricing debate and on why prescription drugs are different from other products. So what is new in this discussion?


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