What We're Reading: Senate Finance Leaders Discuss Drug Pricing Deal; Louisiana HCV Deal; AbbVie to Acquire Allergan

Leaders of the Senate Finance Committee have discussed a deal to limit drug prices in Medicare; Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards will annouce a "Netflix model" deal with Aseuga Therapeutics that will increase access to an effective Hepatitis C drug, AbbVie has annouced a $63 billion transaction agreement to acquire Allergan.

Senate Finance Leaders Discuss Deal to Limit Drug Prices

The leaders of the Senate Finance Committee are conducting bipartisan talks about a deal to limit drug prices in Medicare, The Hill reported. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) called for requiring drug companies to pay back rebates to Medicare’s Part D program if their prices rise faster than inflation and return funds to Medicare if they launch an expensive new drug. Some Republican senators argued the proposal is too similar to price controls for drugs. The Senate Health Committee created a package designed to protect patients from surprise medical bills and the drug pricing bill could be included if the Finance Committee reaches a deal.

Louisiana Officials to Announce Payment Model for Increasing Access to Hepatitis C Drug

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is launching a “Netflix model” deal with Aseuga Therapeutics, a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences, that will increase access to Epclusa, a drug that cures 98% of hepatitis C virus (HCV) cases, The New Orleans Advocate reported. Earlier in March, the Louisiana Department of Health and Corrections selected Asegua to be the state’s pharmaceutical partner to combat HCV following negotiations guided by Louisiana Health Department Secretary Rebekah Gee. While Epclusa typically costs $24,000 per treatment, Asegua will provide unlimited quantities of the drug to the state’s Medicaid patients and patients in state prisons for the next 5 years after the state pays a set price.

AbbVie Announces $63 Billion Transaction Agreement to Acquire Allergan

AbbVie announced that it has reached a $63 billion transaction agreement to acquire Allergan, according to The Center for Biosimilars. The deal is expected to close by early 2020 and AbbVie will be led by its current chief executive officer (CEO) Richard A. Gonzalez and 2 members of the Allergan board, including Brent Saunders, the company’s current chairman and CEO. AbbVie said it expects the combined revenue of the 2 companies’ portfolios and platforms to be approximately $48 billion in 2019.