Industry Briefs February 2016

Pharmacist Group Urges Congress to Examine Generic Price Spikes

In response to a recent hearing of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) is urging the U.S. Congress to enact bipartisan legislation to increase transparency and ensure that reimbursement rates paid to pharmacists reflect actual market costs. The NCPA reveals patients and independent community pharmacists are severely impacted by spiking costs for some generic prescription drugs—and that is creating untenable situations.

“Generic price spikes are negatively impacting patients, pharmacists and healthcare payers alike,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. “Importantly, the associated slow and low price adjustment on generic medications is wreaking havoc on the ability of small business pharmacies to remain viable and continue to provide critical medications and related care to patients.”

Italy’s Cancer Drugs Provide Money-back Guarantees

By making pay-per-performance deals and collecting cash when treatments don’t deliver, Italy has made money-back guarantees on cancer drugs a requirement. Italy sees this as an opportunity to make cash back when drug treatments fail since such a large amount of treatments are fast-tracked. In 2014, Italy saw a full refund from 90 drugs, adding up to $220 million. The success of the operation is peaking interest in the U.S. and Europe. The success is based on a registries system that gathers data for each cancer drug study and uses it to make pay-per-performance deals. Because of this, different types of cancer require different amounts of cash back for drug failure.

Valeant Canada Relocates from Japan

Valeant Canada is relocating its U.S. productions from Tokyo, Japan to Laval, Quebec for their prescription medication, Jublia. One million dollars has been invested in the Laval plant, with the money also being used to fund changes to the medication’s packaging—new and improved flammable safety units and specialized containment units that workers will use to manipulate ethanol. With the new changes, safety regulations will be met and the new plant will be ready to meet the high demand for Jublia. The investment will also make way for high quality, specialized manufacturing jobs in Quebec.

Novozymes Breaks Off Into Albumedix

Novozymes will separate its biopharma activities into an independent company that will be known as Albumedix. Novozymes has been priming Albumedix for the past nine years, focusing on albumin-based products and technologies, a protein found in human blood. Albumedix has been working with biopharmaceutical companies such as Merck to treat vaccines that have been used worldwide. An experienced executive team will lead Albumedix, including Peter Rosholm as CEO, the previous head of Novozymes’ Biopharma sector. Thomas Videbæk, Executive Vice President for Business Development at Novozymes, comments, “The business is in good shape with great prospects to make a real difference for patients all over the world. We believe it is now ready to be developed further outside Novozymes, where it will have the best possible growth conditions.”

J&J to Cut Jobs and Invest in Innovation

Johnson & Johnson’s medical devices unit will cut 3,000 jobs globally to save an estimated $800 million to $1 billion. The company hopes changes will affect only the orthopedic and cardiovascular units, not its consumer medical devices, vision care and diabetes care businesses. By 2018, Johnson & Johnson aims to reallocate this money into new innovations.

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