Nov 5, 2019

A drug pricing method that values the price of a life gets new attention

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A drug pricing model used by other countries but long opposed by drugmakers in the U.S. is getting new attention amid the political debate over drug prices, the Wall Street Journal reports.

How it works: The method, pushed by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, "puts a dollar figure on a year of healthy life, calculates how much health a drug restores to a sick patient, then prices drugs accordingly," per the Journal.

  • Case in point: Novartis set the price of Zolgensma, its recently-approved $2.1 million gene therapy, at the limit suggested by ICER.

Between the lines: Insurers are embracing the approach, and some drug companies are using it as a tool in their pricing process, leading to lower prices.

What they're saying: "This is a cultural issue," Steve Miller, chief clinical officer at Cigna, told the WSJ. "This is America not wanting to put a value on the price of a life."

Go deeper: Drug rebate dollars continue to rise

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Heath Care in 2020

Secretary Azar of the United States Department of Health and Human Services on the Axios stage. Photo: Ralph Alswang for Axios

Wednesday morning, Axios Co-founder Mike Allen hosted a series of one-on-one conversations exploring the challenge of rising drug costs, how policymakers are tackling the problem, and what is at stake in the next election.

Go deeperArrowNov 14, 2019

2020 Democrats' new drug pricing bill

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Sens. Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris — who are all running for president in 2020 — are announcing legislation Friday that would create an independent agency to determine list prices of prescription drugs.

Why it matters: This is further mainstreaming of Democrats' leftward shift on drug prices.

Go deeperArrowNov 15, 2019

Researchers criticize $225,000 annual price of Pfizer's new heart-failure drug

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Some of the researchers who helped develop a new heart-failure drug are criticizing its high price, Bloomberg reports.

The intrigue: Pfizer, which makes the drug, says that it's targeted at a small population, justifying the high price. But critics say that the condition isn't that rare, setting up Pfizer to reap in a fortune from the medication.

Go deeperArrowNov 20, 2019