Abbott, Novartis and Sanofi Targeted in NPPA Clampdown on Drugs Sold Without Price Approval

RAPS, 23 May 2017
Author: Nick Paul Taylor
“The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) of India is taking action against drugmakers including Abbott, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Sanofi. These top pharmaceutical firms allegedly introduced drugs without seeking price approval and may have to pay back what they overcharged. In a letter to the companies the director of enforcement at NPPA, accused the businesses of altering scheduled formulations, either by changing the dose or combining the drug with a non-scheduled medicine. To NPPA, such changes represent the introduction of new drugs. As such, the companies should have obtained approval from NPPA for the prices of their new products before introducing them to the market.”
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Alzheimer’s Deaths Jump 55 Percent: CDC

WebMD, 25 May 2017
Author: Steven Reinberg
“As more baby boomers age, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have jumped 55 percent, and in a quarter of those cases the heavy burden of caregiving has fallen on loved ones, U.S. health officials report. “Alzheimer’s disease is a public health problem that affects not only people with Alzheimer’s disease, but also the people who provide care to them, which is often family members,” said report author Christopher Taylor.”
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Safe space for illegal drug consumption in Baltimore would save $6 million a year

Eurekalert, 25 May 2017
Source: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
“A new cost-benefit analysis conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and others suggests that $6 million in costs related to the opioid epidemic could be saved each year if a single “safe consumption” space for illicit drug users were opened in Baltimore. It would also reduce overdose deaths, HIV and hepatitis C infections, overdose-related ambulance calls and hospitalizations – and bring scores of people into treatment, they found.”
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Many patients with early-stage breast cancer receive costly, inappropriate testing

EurekAlert, 24 May 2017
Author: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
“A study from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center shows that asymptomatic women who have been treated for early-stage breast cancer often undergo advanced imaging and other tests that provide little if any medical benefit, could have harmful effects and may increase their financial burden.”
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Ethics Survey: Drug testing remains a clinical tug of war

Behavioural Net, 18 May 2017
Author: Julie Miller
“In recent weeks, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) prepared comprehensive guidelines on drug testing within the continuum of care. The goal is to present evidence-based recommendations for the frequency and application of testing, which payers and providers can adopt as best practices. It’s significant because up until now, there was no true consensus. And there’s also no denying that some treatment operators have aimed to maximize their profit streams through the overuse of testing and subsequent billing of insurance companies.”
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Disease-awareness ads lead to overdiagnosis, boost Rx sales

ModernHealthcare, 22 May 2017
Author: Alex Kacik
“Ads that try to bring awareness of diseases boost prescription drug sales and over diagnosis in the U.S., according to a new study. There is a fine line between direct-to-consumer drug ads, which the Food and Drug Administration regulates, and ads meant to create disease awareness that often skirt the purview of the FDA, per the article published in JAMA. Disease awareness advertisements, particularly for conditions that only have one approved drug treatment, can bolster drug sales and lead to “inappropriate” prescriptions as patients turn to their doctors and request the drugs they see advertised.”
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Sigma shares plunge on legal wrangle

News, 24 May 2017
Author: Melissa Jenkins
“Sigma Healthcare is planning legal action against the My Chemist/ Chemist Warehouse Group over an alleged breach of a supply agreement, sparking a dive in its share price. Sigma said its proposed action relates to the My Chemist/ Chemist Warehouse Group’s intention to obtain certain products from another wholesaler, which Sigma maintains it is not entitled to do under their existing agreement.”
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EU probes Aspen price gouging allegations

PharmaPhorum, 16 May 2017
Author: Richard Staines
“The European Commission is to investigate into whether South Africa’s Aspen abused a dominant market position by raising the price of a group of generic cancer drugs. Pharma pricing is already under scrutiny in the US, where president Trump has vowed to take action against high drug prices. But now authorities across the Atlantic are also concerned over so-called “price gouging”, where companies impose significant price rises for badly needed drugs.”
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Billions saved because FDA didn’t rush approval of Alzheimer’s drug

Reuters, 10 May 2017
Author: Gene Emery
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision not to rush approval for Eli Lilly’s experimental Alzheimer’s treatment solanezumab – a drug that turned out to be ineffective – may have saved American taxpayers as much as $100 billion over the past four years, an analysis concludes. The analysis comes amid pressure on FDA to use less-strict standards in deciding whether a drug should be approved. Some agency critics have called on the government to approve all drugs that are not toxic and let market forces determine which are best.”
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Venezuela’s infant mortality, maternal mortality and malaria cases soar

The Guardian, 10 May 2017
Source: Reuters
“Venezuela’s infant mortality rose 30% last year, maternal mortality shot up 65% and cases of malaria jumped 76%, according to government data, sharp increases reflecting how the country’s deep economic crisis has hammered at citizens’ health. The statistics also showed a jump in illnesses such as diphtheria and Zika. In the health sector, doctors have emigrated in droves, pharmacy shelves are empty, and patients have to settle for second-rate treatment or none at all. A leading pharmaceutical association has said roughly 85% of medicines are running short.”
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