Trending News Today: Pharma Companies Lobby Against Drug Price Referendum

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

On Monday, a teenager suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy hopes to sway a panel of scientists and physicians to vote in favor of the experimental drug eteplirsen, reported The Washington Post. Although there is little data to back up the experimental drug, many patients believe that since the FDA agrees that there are no know risks for eteplirsen that patients should be able to decide whether or not they want to take the drug. “I think a lot of it is the desire — that people really want the drug to work, because there is nothing else,” Richard Klein, director of the FDA’s patient liaison program, who said he was not speaking about any particular drug, told The Post. “The downside is that people don’t understand the scientific rigors of what needs to be done, and they want the drug to be approved on extremely small bits of data.”

Novartis’ heart-failure drug Entresto is reportedly receiving a better reception in Europe than in the United States. According to The Wall Street Journal, this potential blockbuster drug has struggled in the marketplace, selling only $17 million in the first quarter, with Novartis projecting $200 million for the year — a number well below the forecasts. Entresto helps reduce hospitalization and has been performing better in Europe’s single-payer system than in the United States for its value-for-money pitch for the drug.

Drug companies will be dumping $100 million to try and fight California’s November ballot initiative that will require the state to pay no more than the US Department of Veterans Affairs for prescription drugs, Politico.com reported. So far, the top manufacturers have already raised about $67 million to make sure the proposal loses. “This is just flawed policy,” Kathy Fairbanks, the political consultant leading the pharmaceutical campaign, said in the report. Fairbanks states that if the ballot passes, it is likely that the pharmaceutical companies will sue, resulting in high cost for taxpayers. “This is the crack in the door (on drug pricing),” Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, a California nonprofit devoted to consumer protection issues, told Politico. “If any Democrat in America wants bulk purchasing in Medicare, it will start with bulk purchasing for the most liberal state government in America.”