Good morning, everyone, and welcome to another working week. We hope the weekend respite was relaxing and refreshing, because that oh-so familiar routine of online calls, deadlines, and planning has predictably returned. But what can you do? The world, such as it is, keeps spinning. To cope, yes, we are in the Pharmalot cafeteria brewing cups of stimulation. Our choice today is vanilla macadamia nut. As always, we invite you to join us. Meanwhile, here is the latest line up of items of interest to help you start your own day. Hope all goes well and you conquer the world, or at least do something productive. In any event, keep in touch. …
A preliminary decision on Medicare coverage for the Biogen (BIIB) Alzheimer’s drug is due this week. And even though the battered company has since cut the price of its drug in half and the Food and Drug Administration narrowed recommended use, experts agree that state Medicaid programs may face a crisis, STAT explains. The scenario is raising hard questions about what some say is a need to examine whether these state programs should have more flexibility in setting coverage in order to avoid budgetary blowback. “Should states use scarce resources to pay for a drug, even if Medicare decides it isn’t reasonable and necessary for patients,” asks Rachel Sachs of Washington University Law School.
Pfizer (PFE) is making a major push to leverage mRNA technology, on which its Covid-19 vaccine is based, to develop new vaccines and treatments, STAT tells us. In its latest bid, the drug maker will pay Beam Therapeutics (BEAM), a startup founded by Harvard researcher David Liu, $300 million to spend four years developing treatments for three undisclosed rare genetic diseases affecting the liver, the muscles, and the central nervous system. Pfizer also recently announced it is developing an mRNA-based shingles vaccine with BioNTech (BNTX), its partner for Covid-19 vaccine development, with whom it had already been working on a flu vaccine.
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