Jan 16, 2020

AbbVie's next Humira

An AbbVie manufacturing facility in Italy. Photo: AbbVie

Humira will control the market for many autoimmune conditions in the U.S. until 2023, and AbbVie executives already have a plan for when cheaper alternatives roll out.

Driving the news: AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez said at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference that two newly approved drugs — Skyrizi and Rinvoq — that treat the same conditions as Humira could hit or surpass $20 billion in combined sales in the future (they generated $153 million in the first nine months of 2019). Gonzalez revealed Skyrizi's net price is "roughly the same as Humira," which is around $40,000 annually.

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When a generic drug doesn't do much to lower costs for patients

Photo: Shana Novak/Getty Images

A generic version of Copaxone, one of the most popular drugs to treat multiple sclerosis, didn't do much to lower costs for patients, NPR reports.

The big picture: MS drugs cost $70,000 a year, on average, and some prices have increased to five times what they were when the drugs were first approved by the FDA.

Go deeperArrowJan 21, 2020

Blues plans invest in new generic drug company

A new company will sell generic medicines at cost. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

Eighteen Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers are investing a combined $55 million to build a new generic drug company as a subsidiary of the nonprofit Civica Rx. The firm will focus on manufacturing generics people get at the pharmacy.

Between the lines: Civica and the Blues aren't disclosing which drugs they want to make, so it's unclear how much effect this company will have. But the investment highlights the broad desire to counter generic companies that are accused of price-gouging.

Go deeperArrowJan 23, 2020

Private insurance is health care's pot of gold

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Private health insurance is a conduit for exploding health care spending, and there's no end in sight.

The big picture: Most politicians defend this status quo, even though prices are soaring. And as the industry's top executives and lobbyists gathered this week in San Francisco, some nodded to concerns over affordability — but then went on to tell investors how they plan to keep the money flowing.

Go deeperArrowJan 17, 2020