Industry Briefs February 2017

CVS Offers Low-cost Generic EpiPen

CVS, the largest drug-store chain in the U.S., has added to the EpiPen controversy by launching its own generic version of the Mylan-manufactured epinephrine/auto-injection system for life-threatening anaphylactic emergencies. The high cost of Mylan’s brand name product, which health insurer Cigna recently announced it would not cover the full cost of, incentivized CVS to launch a generic alternative.

The CVS version is based on Impax Lab’s Adrenaclick treatment and will sell for $109.99 for a two pack of the epinephrine injection, USP auto-injector, according to a CVS spokesperson. Even without additional discounts, this is a fraction of the $300 list price of Mylan’s generic version of the product that it released in December. CVS’ move comes at a time when pharma companies and pharmacy benefit managers are questioning who is responsible for inflating drug prices. Besides offering customers an affordable alternative, CVS could be seeking to gain influence over drug companies when negotiating drug prices.

Takeda To Acquire Ariad for $5.2 Billion

Japan’s Takeda will bolster its oncology portfolio by acquiring Ariad Pharmaceuticals for $24 cash per share. Takeda will gain Iclusig, a drug approved for the treatment of myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia, with a revenue forecast of up to $180 million. It will also gain access to a new lung cancer treatment, brigatinib, which is expected to be approved in April.

Ariad recently came under attack by Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Elijah Cummings for raising the price of Iclusig four times in one year. The $5.2 billion dollar deal is expected to close by the end of February.

According to BBC, Takeda paid an enormous premium for Ariad, but will be scrutinized by the U.S. if prices are raised to reduce that expense.

GoodRx and Triplefin Partner to Provide Co-pay Assistance Programs

Because prescription drug access is continually an issue for uninsured and underinsured Americans, GoodRx, the number one source for prescription price savings in the U.S., and Triplefin, which provides pharmaceutical hub services that include patient access and adherence solutions, partnered to provide pharmaceutical brand manufacturers with a premium, focused channel to reach cost-conscious consumers searching for pricing information for branded drugs.

GoodRx will find co-pay savings that could dramatically reduce out-of-pocket expenses, while Triplefin collaborates with manufacturers to implement the co-pay programs and increase consumer access.

SDHB PheoPara Coalition Plans 1st Annual Gala

The SDHB PheoPara Coalition is dedicated to educating HCPs and patients about certain rare adrenal diseases, specifically the SDHB genetic germline mutation in pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma, as well as supporting research which will ultimately lead to an effective treatment of the SDHB form of the disease. To help support its cause, the organization has announced the first annual SDHB PheoPara Coalition Charity Gala, to be held on Thursday, April 20th at the Hilton Parsippany Hotel in New Jersey. For more information about the event, visit http://bit.ly/2lht8Su.

U.S. National Cancer Institute Plans Speedier Access to Therapies

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) forged a partnership with pharmaceutical companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, and Roche’s Genentech unit, in order to give researchers unimpeded access to agents for use in clinical studies.

“The NCI formulary will help researchers begin testing promising drug combinations more quickly, potentially helping patients much sooner,” NCI acting director Dr. Douglas Lowy said in a statement. “Rather than spending time negotiating agreements, investigators will be able to focus on the important research that can ultimately lead to improved cancer care.”

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