Tag Archives: drug pricing

Doctors tried to lower $148K cancer drug cost; makers triple price of pill

(credit: Wellness GM)

A drug that treats a variety of white blood cell cancers typically costs about $148,000 a year, and doctors can customize and quickly adjust doses by adjusting how many small-dose pills of it patients should take each day—generally up to four pills. At least, that was the case until now.

Last year, doctors presented results from a small pilot trial hinting that smaller doses could work just as well as the larger dose—dropping patients down from three pills a day to just one. Taking just one pill a day could dramatically reduce costs to around $50,000 a year. And it could lessen unpleasant side-effects, such as diarrhea, muscle and bone pain, and tiredness. But just as doctors were gearing up for more

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Drug maker hikes price of 2-in-1 painkiller >2,000%—$36 drugs now $3,000

Enlarge (credit: Getty | Mario Tama)

Irish drug company Horizon Pharma has hiked the price of a two-in-one painkiller by more than 2,000 percent in the past five years, according to a report in Financial Times

A 60-pill bottle of the drug combo, Vimovo, cost $138 in 2013 when AstraZeneca sold it to Horizon. The bottle now costs $2,979 after Horizon raised the price on 11 occasions.

Vimovo is a combination of the common painkiller naproxen and esomeprazole. Naproxen is the active ingredient in Bayer’s over-the-counter painkiller Aleve. A side effect of naproxen is gastrointestinal issues, including stomach pain and heartburns. As such, Vimovo combines it with esomeprazole, a proton-pump inhibitor that treats heartburn. Esomeprazole is sold over the counter by AstraZeneca as Nexium.

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To keep EpiPen sales up, Mylan threatened states, sued making bogus claims

Enlarge (credit: Getty | Alex Wong)

Note: EpiPens are sold in the UK by Meda Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Mylan in 2016. They can be acquired for just £45 a piece online in the UK. But the US and UK healthcare markets are quite different beasts…

Pharmaceutical company Mylan sued West Virginia in 2015 to keep its EpiPens on the state’s “preferred drug list,” which, if successful, would mean that the state’s Medicaid programs would have to automatically pay for the pricey epinephrine auto-injectors.

The bold and unusual move by Mylan—which ultimately failed—is yet another example of the aggressive marketing and legal tactics the company used to boost profits from EpiPens, which halt life-threatening allergic reactions. Since Mylan acquired rights to EpiPen in 2007,

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