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Dexycu has a $595 list price. Photo: EyePoint Pharmaceuticals

A new agreement between a small drugmaker and Kaiser Permanente will allow for the use of a new, pricey cataract surgery drug in Kaiser facilities, except there's one major issue: Nobody's admitting Kaiser is the distributing system.

Why it matters: When it comes to transparency, the health care industry is a black box — even on seemingly small things.

Driving the news: EyePoint Pharmaceuticals recently touted in a press release that it locked in a deal with an "integrated delivery system" to offer its new eye treatment, Dexycu, which is injected into patients' eyes after cataract surgery as a means to replace post-surgery eyedrops.

  • The release said this health system operates in "California, Washington, Georgia, Colorado and mid-Atlantic states" and has more than 8.5 million patients.
  • The only system that is big enough and is in those locations is Kaiser Permanente.

What they're saying: Scott Jones, chief commercial officer at EyePoint, said he could "neither confirm nor deny" that Kaiser is the system that will start offering Dexycu because "we're not allowed to use [the system's] name."

  • Meanwhile, a Kaiser spokesperson said: "We do not comment on the details of our pharmaceutical contracts. In general, our contracting strategy — like all of our services — is focused on ensuring that our clinicians can provide the high-quality, affordable care that is at the heart of our mission."

The big picture: Dexycu has a list price of $595, and Jones said this deal opens the door to roughly 70,000 to 100,000 cataract surgeries within the network every year.

  • Drugs like Dexycu, which are part of bigger procedures, usually garner payment that is close to or even above their list prices. So it's reasonable to expect this deal is worth tens of millions of dollars.
  • This treatment also costs a lot more than typical prescription eyedrops, but the cost will be more hidden because it will be covered by insurance premiums.

Go deeper

24 mins ago - Health

FDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill

The Merck Cherokee Plant in Riverside, Pennsylvania. Photo: Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Tuesday voted 13-10 to endorse an antiviral pill developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to treat adults at high risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, despite concerns over its effectiveness and safety.

Why it matters: Oral antiviral drugs designed to prevent or treat COVID-19 could be key pandemic-fighting tools, if proven effective, especially as new variants emerge. If authorized, the Merck drug, known as molnupiravir, would be the first treatment of its kind to be made available in the United States.

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 6 wounded

Screengrab: CBSN

Three people dead and six others are wounded after a shooting at a high school in Michigan according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

Driving the news: The alleged shooter was a 15-year-old sophomore at Oxford High School and has been arrested, per police.

Fed signals it could yank economic support quicker as inflation sticks around

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve will consider pulling back economic support sooner "as the threat of persistently high inflation has grown," chair Jerome Powell said during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the biggest signal yet the Fed is backing away from its stance that soaring prices would be fleeting — a change that could shift its policies that underpin the economy.