Saturday, January 30, 2016

Heck yeah

Are we ready for pharmaceutical company price wars? Heck yeah! There has been a lot of 'hoohah' going on pricing with pharmaceutical companies, especially for Gilead's hepatitis C drugs which came in at a shocking $84,000 per treatment course. Which was later upped to $90K plus for second treatment option.

Now Merck has stepped into the hep C market with a new drug which is only a paltry $54,600 treatment for a 12 week course of treatment. Wowza!!! That's so much more affordable.

Of course Gilead says Merck's treatment isn't as good (of course). [And their CEO just stepped down because of the pricing crisis.] But the stock analysts are rooting for Merck on this one so we will just have to wait and see who wins this one.

But maybe instead of focusing on the big companies we should talk about the benefits to the patients. But the big news:

"One industry consultant, Roger Longman of Read Endpoints, a research firm that tracks reimbursement issues, believes that Merck’s pricing may be sufficiently tempting for benefits managers. That’s because its new treatment carries a lower list price than the Harvoni list prices, regardless of whether patients take that treatment for eight or 12 weeks, depending upon their strain of the virus.

“Essentially, what Merck has done is undercut Harvoni” in most patient populations, he explained. “And remember that Merck will also offer rebates. So they’re giving themselves some room to make it still more attractive for pharmacy benefits managers, some of which may have contracts that allow them to switch drugs if there’s a dramatic price difference from a new product.”"

So maybe there is hope for the patients after all.

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