CVS Blames Manufacturers for High Drug Prices
CVS Health has implemented several programs to help control drug pricing, but manufacturers must lower their drug prices, the company said in a recent letter to HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar.
“Until drug manufacturers reduce the high price they set for these drugs, we know this problem is not going away,” the company states in the letter. “Despite our efforts to lower costs for consumers, we are working within a system where competition has been stalled, which hurts the consumer most.”
CVS Health offered the comments in response to a Request for Information on the Trump Administration’s Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices. “We support the Administration’s goal to lower drug prices and reduce out-of-pocket costs for consumers and we are using every innovative tool possible to bring down the cost of drugs ourselves,” the letter states.
Pfizer recently announced increases on more than 40 medications, but backed down and said it is freezing prices when confronted on the issue by President Trump. Novartis has also said it will not raise prices for the remainder of 2018. However, Bayer increased the list prices on two major cancer drugs: regorafenib (Stivarga) and sorafenib (Nexavar), which increased more than $1,000 per month. Now, Stivarga costs around $16,800 per month, while Nexavar costs about $18,500 per month, according to GoodRx.com.
PCC Shortages Worry ER Pharmacists
PCC is indicated before urgent surgery or during acute major bleeding to replace some of the blood coagulation factors in patients being treated with warfarin or other vitamin K antagonists.
“We have a very small number of vials left,” Krysta Baack, PharmD, BCPS, ED pharmacist at Nebraska Medicine–Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE, tells ASHP in a press release.
CSL Behring issued an urgent recall of three lots of Kcentra in March after a manufacturing change resulted in an increased risk of vial breakage during transport and handling of the product. In addition, ASHP’s May 16 drug shortage bulletin stated that the manufacturer had “short-term delays in product releases” and insufficient stock for “usual ordering.”
Amie Quinones, ED pharmacist for Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, UT, tells ASHP, in a statement, that the PCC shortage forces clinicians to deviate from evidence-based practices that are the standard of care. “We have alternatives, but there’s no literature [support] for those alternatives,” Quinones says.