What We're Reading: Healthcare Negotiations; Protecting Eliquis; Impact of Drug Shortages on Prices

Republican Health Bill Close to Passing?

Representative Dave Brat, R-Virginia, claims the House Freedom Caucus is close to a compromise to pass a healthcare bill in the House of Representatives. According to USA Today, a bill could be passed as quickly as 3 weeks from now. Republicans are dedicated to passing a healthcare bill because they realize the danger of not doing so after campaigning for 7 years to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Freedom Caucus is negotiating allowing states to opt out of the community rating and the essential health benefits, which are both required under the ACA.

BMS, Pfizer File 16 Patent Lawsuits

In an attempt to slow generic competition for Eliquis, a stroke and blood clot preventer, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer filed suit against 16 generic drug makers. Eliquis is a top selling drug for both companies and could surpass Xarelto, the current top-selling anticoagulant, reported FiercePharma. Among the companies named in the lawsuits are Mylan, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, and Accord Healthcare.

Impact of Drug Shortages on the Price of Other Drugs

A new study in New England Journal of Medicine found that shortages of prescription drugs lead to price increases for similar drugs. The Wall Street Journal reported that this results in a “secondary shock” where providers can’t give patients the preferred drug, and the less ideal drug is now more expensive. The study highlighted the effect by looking at what happened when there was a shortage of a bladder cancer drug in 2014 and 2015—the cost of a generic drug that was a less-effective alternative went up 146%.