From the desk of David Whitrap
Good morning everyone. The Weekly View will be on break next week but will be back in your inbox on July 12. Have a fun-filled Fourth!
This week, let’s take a look at:
- ICER in the News: WBUR’s deep dive into ICER’s role in the US health care system, and our draft scope for how we will assess treatments for acute migraine.
- Pharmaceutical News: The latest biopharma megamerger, the next step for the “Netflix” model for drug spending, the approval of a new female libido drug, and an analysis of what actually happens after drug companies commit to conducting post-approval studies.
ICER in the News
This week, Boston’s NPR station aired a lengthy profile about ICER’s growing role within the US health system. The segment highlights how fair drug pricing can achieve fair patient access — while maintaining sufficient financial incentives for the type of future pharmaceutical innovation that truly transforms patients’ lives. Here’s one of several quotes from ICER’s President Steve Pearson:
“We in the United States often get tremendous value from the [pharmaceutical] innovation that we fund through so many different channels, AND we are getting ripped off… [the US health system has] just been really bad at distinguishing between the two.”
Earlier this morning, ICER published a draft scoping document that outlines how we plan to assess treatments for acute migraine, including Biohaven’s rimegepant, Allergan’s ubrogepant, and Eli Lilly’s lasmiditan. All three of these agents are under FDA review with an anticipated decision by the end of the year.
The drugmaker AbbVie said on Tuesday that it planned to buy Allergan for about $63 billion, in one of the biggest mergers in the health care industry this year.
Botox Maker Allergan Is Sold to AbbVie in $63 Billion Deal
(The New York Times)
Louisiana’s health department announced Wednesday what it called a “subscription model” deal with Gilead Sciences subsidiary Asegua Therapeutics. Louisiana will pay a flat fee for unlimited access to hepatitis C medication for five years, and will be able to treat as many people as it can, rather than pay a per-patient drug price.
Louisiana reaches ‘Netflix-model’ deal to tackle hepatitis C
(The Associated Press)
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday that calls for upfront disclosure by hospitals of actual prices for common tests and procedures. The administration is hoping that patients may be able to use this information to help keep costs down.
Trump signs order that aims to reveal real health care costs
(The Associated Press)
Last Friday, the FDA approved a new drug called Vyleesi for women with low sexual desire. Longtime biotech reporter Adam Feuerstein summarized the side effects and modest efficacy reported in the clinical trials:
“This is what happens when drug regulators lower — nearly to the floor — their own risk-benefit standards…. All in, injecting a placebo is probably a wiser choice.”
As a condition of regulatory approval, drug makers are often required to conduct follow-up studies, but sometimes they also voluntarily agree to run still other trials that can yield important information about the safety, effectiveness, and optimal use of new medicines. However, an analysis finds that few such commitments involved new studies and only half were published in peer-review journals.