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

Pelosi on state of coronavirus stimulus talks: "It's a chasm"

Democrats and the Trump administration remain "miles apart" on negotiations over a coronavirus stimulus deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Wednesday.

Driving the news, via Axios' Dion Rabouin: Congress' failure to renew enhanced unemployment measures for millions of Americans at the end of July is already affecting consumer spending patterns, holding down retail purchases and foot traffic, economists at Deutsche Bank say.

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of noon ET: 20,391,697 — Total deaths: 744,211— Total recoveries: 12,625,076Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 5,161,612 — Total deaths: 164,690 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits — U.S. producer prices rose last month by the most since October 2018.
  4. Public health: America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.
  5. Education: Gallup: America's confidence in public school system jumps to highest level since 2004.
  6. World: Lebanon reports coronavirus record, UN warns Beirut blast may drive cases higher
52 mins ago - World

U.S. threatens to veto UN peacekeeping in Lebanon over Hezbollah concerns

Peacekeepers with Lebanese troops in southern Lebanon. Photo: Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty

The Trump administration is threatening to veto a resolution to extend the UN's long-standing peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon if its mandate isn't changed, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: The U.S. is the main funder of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which has an annual budget of $250 million. The veto threat is a tactical move, and part of a broader effort to put pressure on Iran and its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah.