Trending News Today: Much Ado About Nothing in PCSK9 Inhibitor Cost Impact

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

The expansion of Medicaid was aimed at improving the physical health of poverty-stricken individuals, but new research shows that Obamacare may help with the financial burden as well, reported The Washington Post. The study was conducted by a collaboration of university researchers and members of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The results of the analysis found that the law helped many poor Americans pay off the collection agent. In fact, researchers estimated that those who signed up for Medicaid under the law saw a reduction in their collection balances by $600 to $1000 each.

In the wake of the widespread panic last summer within the medical community over 2 high priced cholesterol lowering PCSK9 inhibitors could have on the market, The New York Times reported that the drugs ended up not having much of an effect after all. The 2 new injectable drugs, Repatha and Praluent, promised to reduce artery-clogging cholesterol by nearly twice as much as older drugs. Although there was initial excitement within the medical community, it quickly turned after the hefty price tag of approximately $14,000 a year was revealed, compared with about $150 for standard cholesterol drugs. Some experts had predicted a doomsday scenario, in which the 2 drugs would add $100 billion to US drug spending once doctors started prescribing the drugs to millions of patients. However, to these experts’ surprise, spending on these drugs were limited after insurers limited access to patients with extremely-high cholesterol associated with genetic disorders.

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Novartis reported a reduction in net income in the first quarter due to generic drug competition. Net income from continued operations fell 13% after the release of the generic version of Gleevec — one of the first effective cancer medications – and the increase of generic competition that has cut into their sales, reported The Washington Post. The decline in income went from $2.31 billion last year to $2.01 billion, while sales dropped 3% to $11.6 billion.