Pfizer postpones price hikes

Pfizer announced price increases on about 40 drugs at the beginning of July. But after discussions with President Donald Trump and Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, they’ve decided to cut-it-out. Trump had lambasted drug companies earlier in the week for price increases, noting that other markets like Europe get lower prices. After their meeting, Pfizer decided to roll-back the increases to pre-July figures, “to give the president an opportunity to work on his blueprint to strengthen the healthcare system and provide more access for patients.” And they’re leaving the price drops announced at the beginning of the month intact. The hikes aren’t completely gone though, Pfizer’s just holding off until 2019 or until that aforementioned blueprint takes effect. For a (pink) blueprint you don’t have to wait for, click here.

There’s an app for that

Novartis recently launched an app that enables patients taking part in ophthalmic clinical trials to self-report data, which could potentially speed the development of new therapies. Here’s lookin’ at you kid. According to a wonderful report from Deloitte, “the number of apps produced by pharma more than tripled from 2013 to 2016, but the year-over-year growth rate of downloads slowed from 197% between 2013 and 2014 to just 5% between 2015 and 2016.” Maybe pharma lies outside the circle of trust? The Deloitte report also states, “pharma apps are trusted by 32% of consumers, compared to 76% for apps developed by patient communities.” Look for more pharma-association collaborations like the Quitter’s Circle from Pfizer and the American Lung Association. Is it better that the Novartis app is for clinical trials? Hear InsightCity’s take on this article with this short podcast. (It’s our first one. We’re not pros. Don’t be mean.)

“But wait, there’s more”

Order now and we’ll ship you the Thighmaster…and if you’re not satisfied, just return it within 14 days for a full refund. Money-back guarantees are almost a necessity for TV products, but what about for medications? Certainly not the norm, there have been some value-based contracts popping up in the pharma world. There’s a very interesting Forbes article written by former Pfizer global R&D President John LaMattina that lobbies for two major trade organizations (BIO and PhRMA) to pass resolutions that money-back guarantees become a formal practice with member companies. Wow, that would Shake Weight things up. LaMattina points to Amgen’s Repatha (LDL-C lowering) and Novartis’ new gene therapy Kymriah (CAR-T therapy), priced at $475,000/patient. Keep this on your radar, few things could change the healthcare landscape like widespread adoption of value-based pricing.

Drug manufacturing is easy, not

Just ask Pfizer. This week Pfizer ran into a couple “issues” surrounding drug manufacturing. Ok, to be honest, Tris Pharm—a CMO—was issued the FDA warning letter, but it was for a Pfizer ADHD product (Quillivant XR) and Pfizer was named in the FDA letter. This is also not just an issue for Pfizer, but for patients. For example, 6.1% of American children are on ADHD medication. To add insult to injury, Quillivant was recently listed as a drug that is in short supply. Our advice, stock up on Quillivant. Also this week, the FDA released a Complete Response Letter (CRL) for the company’s proposed trastuzumab biosimilar. Using normal words; no soup for you as the FDA highlighted the need for additional technical information and does not relate to safety or clinical data submitted in the application. Hopefully next week will be better.

Pfizer exits the Alzheimer’s race

Last week Pfizer announced they’re shuttering their neuroscience discovery unit, which dedicates resources to the discovery and development of drugs for both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. While the practical and macro implications of the drug giant’s decision may be minimal—don’t forget, more than 99% of these drugs fail before they get to market—seeing a leader “give up” the search will take the wind out of some sails. Especially for patients and advocacy groups. Pfizer appears to be setting itself up for a “buy” rather than “build” strategy, as they are starting a “neuroscience venture fund,” presumably to snatch up products discovered by the many start-ups who will continue to dig for neuroscience gold.

You give $1M and you give $1M and you give $1M (say it like Oprah would)

And soon it starts to add up. This week the NIH announced a pretty cool partnership with the private pharma industry. The Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies (PACT) is a five-year public-private research collaboration totaling $215 million as part of the Cancer Moonshot project. 11 pharma companies (AbbVie, Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Genentech, Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Pfizer) will contribute $1M each for five years. The NIH will contribute $160 million. The goal: “to identify, develop and validate robust biomarkers — standardized biological markers of disease and treatment response — to advance new immunotherapy treatments.” Sweet. If you want to read what pharma PR folks have been up to you can read their responses here. For the top 10 private-public immuno-oncology collaborations, look here.

Africa can surpass cancer

Pfizer and Cipla are teaming up with the American Cancer Society and the Clinton Health Access Initiative to provide cheap chemotherapy drugs to six nations in Africa that have been hit the hardest by treatable cancers. They’re taking inspiration from Pepfar, which is the (US) President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and not a program designed to export pep rallies far across the globe. Pepfar is responsible for many of the 14 million Africans who now have access to HIV medications, and the above collaboration is keen to replicate that kind of success. The drug companies will sell 16 generic chemotherapies at a fraction of what they cost in more well-off countries—minimizing profits, but maximizing positive PR. Needless to say: well done, all involved.

Come on down, the price is right

Quick question. How many different “flavors” of J&J’s Remicade can you buy? Currently there are three, but more a coming. You can be prescribed Remicade (2016 sales of $4.45 billion), or Pfizer’s biosimilar Inflectra, or Samsung’s biosimilar Renflexis, and soon you might be able to get it from Amgen or Sandoz. When initially launched, Pfizer’s Inflectra was priced at a 15% discount to Remicade. Then Renflexis recently launched at a 35% discount. Just before the Renflexis launch, Pfizer knocked off another 4% to get to a 19% discount. What does J&J have to say about this? Sales of Remicade have not fallen as much as analysts predicted. Biosimilars are tricky and huge sales are at stake. Stay tuned, these battles are just beginning.