November 28, 2016
Weekly Media Update on Policy and Advocacy in the U.S. to Bring Down Drug Prices

Costs of Widely Prescribed Drugs Jumped Up to 5,241 Percent in Recent Years, Joint Investigation Shows

The costs of seven widely prescribed antibiotics, cancer drugs, arthritis medications and other prescriptions have escalated between 29 percent and 5,241 percent in recent years, according to a joint investigation by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Wisconsin Health News and Wisconsin Public Radio.

The investigation examined the impacts of and reasons behind the overall rise in prescription costs, including drug price increases since 2011, using proprietary First Databank data.
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Drug Costs Skyrocket for Many Older Americans, Despite Medicare Coverage

To avoid liver damage, Roberta Solar, a 71-year-old cancer patient, has to take a medicine called ursodiol, perhaps for the rest of her life.

Next year her annual out-of-pocket costs for the drug will jump from $93 to $1,878 – a rise of almost 2,000%, according to information that she and her husband recently received from the insurer that covers their medicines under Medicare.  

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How Changing Drug Patent Rules Will Affect Developing Nations

Through the World Trade Organisation an agreement was reached in November 2015 for the world’s poorest countries to buy –- and for drug manufacturers to produce or import –- generic medicines without breaching patent rules until January 1 2033. The decision was taken by the organisation’s Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Put simply, the need of a nation trumped the right to derive protected benefit from a patent. This initiative will help developing countries come up with better policies. It will provide legal certainty, which should lead to better access and more affordable drug prices.

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