The Weekly Roundup: Pricing Woes (5.4.18)

May 04, 2018 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

When it comes to assigning blame for drug pricing, there’s plenty of it go around. We’ve seen an uptick in campaigns like this one defending the pharmaceutical industry, and this one defending PBMs. Many of our members have been active in developing and supporting legislation on the federal and state levels to shed some light on pricing practices. It’s an uphill battle, but now one that has another general: class-action attorney Steve Berman. Berman has a long history of besting corporate Goliaths and he is painting Big Pharma with an almost operatic brush. Just as the U.S. Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations Act [RICO] was the cudgel used to take down the mob, it is believed the statute could also be used to break open pharma’s stranglehold on pricing. It’s already being used as the basis for a class action suit that pulls wholesalers into the mix for increases to health costs attributable to the opioid epidemic. On another front, remarks by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to the Food and Drug Law Institute suggested that removing safe harbor provisions for drug rebates under federal anti-kickback law could “help restore some semblance of reality to the relationship between list and negotiated prices…” Meanwhile, PhRMA, the trade group that represents pharmaceutical manufacturers, broke its own quarterly spending record this year: nearly $10 million on lobbyists. Part of that spending was aimed at defeating a law that would make them responsible for an estimated 70 percent of seniors’ “donut hole” costs. The law providing for the additional hit to manufacturers goes into effect in 2019.

Here are a few other stories that might be of interest:

[Editor’s note:] Our inboxes are stuffed with newsletters and our coffee tables stacked with magazines and industry digests. I’m sure yours are, too. So we’ve decided to run a weekly sampling of interesting stories, issues coverage, and business ideas we come across each week. We hope you’ll share some of your favorites, too. Drop us a line at

Pamela Youngberg Dickson

Before she came to Smart-Fill, Pamela developed marketing strategy and content for a range of technology start-ups and large-cap enterprises. Outside the office, she's into gardening, renaissance history, the Big Ten, and exploring the great outdoors. 

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