Good morning. Elizabeth Cooney here, filling in for Ed Silverman. Heads-up: Our STAT colleague Helen Branswell will answer questions about Ebola, vaccines, and a new epidemic in a free live chat at 1 p.m. ET today. Sign up here.
Markups on commonly prescribed generic drugs are growing, with huge markups on some well-known medicines, a Bloomberg analysis found. For the 90 drugs analyzed, including more than 500 dosages and formulations, pharmacy benefit managers and pharmacies siphoned off $1.3 billion of the $4.2 billion Medicaid insurers spent on the drugs in 2017. The biggest markups tended to come on newer generic drugs. In 2017, markups in some states increased the price paid by state Medicaid plans for generic versions of the Novartis (NVS) leukemia pill Gleevec by as much as $3,000 per prescription.
The rising cost of prescription drugs is an issue in midterm races across the country, but nowhere more so than in New Jersey, where one candidate is the recently retired CEO of a drug company, so STAT took a look at the rhetoric in that race. In TV ads, incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez paints his opponent as a craven profiteer, raising prices on patients with no other options. But former Celgene boss Bob Hugin argues that Celgene has saved thousands of lives by giving away doses of its banner cancer drug for free to patients who can’t afford it.