Prime Therapeutics, Merck KGaA subsidiary enter contractual agreement over MS drug
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A pharmacy benefit manager and the U.S. subsidiary of a German drug maker have made a deal concerning a drug for multiple sclerosis.
Prime Therapeutics and EMD Serono, part of German drug maker Merck KGaA, said the deal for the drug Rebif (interferon beta-1a) would bring the first outcomes-based rebate contract for a multiple sclerosis drug to Prime’s CareCentered Contracting program. The contract stipulates that EMD Serono will pay rebates to Prime if patients on Rebif have a higher overall total cost to their plans than patients on a different MS drug or if the medication adherence rate remains above a specified level.
"With more than 57% of the direct healthcare costs to treat MS in the United States related to drug expenses, it is important to focus on medication adherence and cost effectiveness to ensure the greatest health benefit for each dollar spent," Prime SVP cost of care Peter Wickersham said. "Our CareCentered Contract with EMD Serono goes beyond outcomes to do just that. It includes the total cost of care component, inclusive of medical and pharmacy costs and medication adherence."
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Drug price inflation outpaces general inflation, AARP study finds
WASHINGTON — Prices for generic drugs may be dropping, but increases in branded and specialty drug prices have offset those decreases, according to a new study.
The study, conducted by AARP’s Public Policy Institute, found that the cumulative change in drug prices from 2005 to 2009 was almost double the rate of inflation. As a result, the average annual cost of drug therapy continued to rise.
The study was based on examinations of retail prices for the 514 drugs most used by Medicare beneficiaries. In 2009, while the rate of general inflation was -0.3%, the drugs increased in price by an average of 4.8%. Branded drugs increased in price by 8.3%, while specialty drugs rose by 8.9% and generic drugs decreased by 7.8%.
"For the people who rely on these drugs, such relentless price increase have serious implications," AARP SVP public strategy Cheryl Matheis said. "Despite price reductions for generics, it’s evident that the considerable increases in brand name and specialty drug prices are still leaving Americans with overall costs that are growing far faster than the rate of inflation."
For the 469 drugs on the market since the end of 2004, prices increased by 25.6% from 2005 to 2009, while the general inflation rate was 13.3%. Consumers taking drugs to treat chronic diseases found that their average annual cost increased from $2,160 to $3,168.
My anger grows every day I work seeing Medicaid patients pick up these medications for a little bit of nothing when we have to call doctors and switch prescribed medications to something cheaper for working (insured) patients who can't afford to pay for these even if the second choice medication may not be as effective for them.
Forest, Pierre Fabre drug ‘significantly’ reduced depression symptoms
NEW YORK — A drug under development by Forest Labs and Pierre Fabre "significantly" reduced symptoms of major depressive disorder, the companies said Wednesday.
New York-based Forest and Paris-based Pierre Fabre announced results of a phase-3 trial of levomilnacipran, saying the drug showed reductions in symptoms as early as one week after treatment was started. The companies expect results of another phase-3 trial of the drug this spring.
The study included 442 men and women ages 18 to 80 years, who first received placebo for a week and were then randomly placed into a treatment group or a placebo group for eight weeks.
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