All drug manufacturers responsible for manufacturing the 10 prescription medicines that will be subject to the inaugural price negotiations for the U.S. Medicare health programme, such as Amgen as well as Novartis, have confirmed their participation in the talks by the October 1 deadline.
It is worth noting that failing to comply would have resulted in significant penalties. Drug manufacturers would have been required to pay taxes ranging from anywhere between 65% to 95% on their drug’s Medicare sales. On the other hand, they would have had to remove all of their products from the Medicare and Medicaid programmes. Notably, these programmes collectively offer health benefits to 158 million Americans.
In a statement, the U.S. company Merck declared that it would ink the initial agreement with CMS under protest. There is little option between taking action and facing significant fines and taxes, they opine.
7 drugmakers have gone on to file lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the governing body charged with overseeing the Medicare agency. These drugmakers claim that the process for establishing prices is unlawful.
A lawsuit filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce against the programme was rejected by a federal judge recently. Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk went on to file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey.
The drugs were chosen by CMS based on specific criteria set forth by Medicare. Apparently, these drugs must be available for sale exclusively in pharmacies without any substantial competition from generic versions. Additionally, these medications should have been on the market for a minimum of 9 years, or 13 years in the case of more complex biotech drugs.
The drugs that are part of the initial round of price talks include: Eliquis, which happens to be a blood thinner developed by Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer; Januvia, a diabetes medication created by Merck & Co; Xarelto, a competitor of Eliquis; and arthritis and Crohn’s disease medications. Some of the notable medications that are included in the list happen to be Stelara, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson; Imbruvica, a leukaemia treatment developed by Abb.Vie; Enbrel, a rheumatoid arthritis treatment produced by Amgen; Jardiance, a diabetes drug jointly created by Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly; and insulin, manufactured by Novo Nordisk.