Mar 2, 2020 - Health

Drugmakers warn of medication shortages from coronavirus

Tourists with face masks walk through Union Square in New York City on Feb. 28. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Some of the largest drugmakers — including AstraZeneca, Merck and Pfizer — have said that the coronavirus outbreak could affect their supplies or sales, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Between the lines: Drug shortages can end up being incredibly serious for patients, but they're not good for business either.

Details: The drug companies are trying to get ahead of the problem by looking for alternative sources of drug ingredients and supplies.

  • Only one drug has gone into shortage so far because of the coronavirus, but the FDA hasn't said which drug or who makes it.

Go deeper: Coronavirus threatens shortages of about 150 drugs

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Brand-name prescription drug prices have spiked since 2007

Reproduced from Hernandez et. al, 2020, "Changes in List Prices, Net Prices, and Discounts for Branded Drugs in the US, 2007-2018"; Chart: Axios Visuals

The price of brand-name prescription drugs went up by 60% between 2007 and 2018, after accounting for rebates and discounts, according to a new study in JAMA.

Why it matters: Drugmakers often argue that the uproar over drug prices is overblown, saying it focuses too much on list prices instead of the discounted prices insurance plans end up paying. But this study shows that those prices, too, are rising.

Go deeperArrowMar 4, 2020 - Health

Gilead expands access to experimental coronavirus drug in emergency cases

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O’Day said in an open letter Saturday that the company is expanding access to its experimental anti-coronavirus drug remdesivir to include severely ill COVID-19 patients.

The big pig picture: President Trump has called the antiviral drug "promising," but the results of six clinical trials on this investigational medicine are still being conducted, so its effectiveness in the treatment of the novel coronavirus has yet to be proved. The World Health Organization is involved in the tests.

Go deeperArrowMar 29, 2020 - Health

Novartis fined $195 million in generic price-fixing scheme

Sandoz is the generic arm of Novartis. Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images

Sandoz, the generic drug unit of pharmaceutical giant Novartis, has admitted that it colluded with other companies to inflate the prices of various generic drugs and is paying $195 million to resolve charges, the Department of Justice said Monday.

Why it matters: This is the largest criminal penalty in a U.S. antitrust case, and Sandoz is now the third company to admit guilt within the wide-ranging scheme to fix prices of generic drugs. Sandoz's admission implicates more generic drugmakers.