Mul­ti­ple block­busters from Gilead, Pfiz­er, Ver­tex see (list) price hikes to start 2022

Kick­ing off 2022, hun­dreds of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, in­clud­ing some block­busters, saw their list prices rise by about 5% on av­er­age. But over­all, net drug prices (cost af­ter re­bates) de­clined for the fourth year in a row, po­ten­tial­ly com­pli­cat­ing al­ready stalled drug price re­form ef­forts.

Among the drugs see­ing new in­creas­es as of Jan. 1 are Gilead’s bevy of block­buster HIV drugs.

Bik­tarvy, which pulled in more than $7 bil­lion in world­wide sales in 2020, saw a 4.8% price in­crease in 2021, and now, an­oth­er 5.6% in­crease in 2022, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port from the non­prof­it 46brook­lyn Re­search.

Gilead of­fered the same 5.6% price hikes for its oth­er HIV drugs: De­scovy, which saw sales of more than $1.8 bil­lion in 2020; Gen­voya, which brought in more than $3 bil­lion in 2020; and Odef­sey, which had $1.7 bil­lion in 2020 sales.

Pfiz­er, which is set to reap tens of bil­lions, pos­si­bly even hun­dreds of bil­lions, from its Covid-19 vac­cine and pill this year and next year, al­so hiked the price of its block­buster can­cer drug Ibrance by 6.9% to start this year. Oth­er Pfiz­er med­i­cines, in­clud­ing sev­er­al an­tibi­otics and a form of chemo, saw their prices in­crease by 10% to start the year, ac­cord­ing to GoodRx.

Mean­while, Ver­tex in­creased the price of its block­buster CF drug Trikaf­ta by 4.9% in 2022. That might not seem like a big spike in the grand scheme of things, but the drug’s list price is cur­rent­ly set at $311,000 per year, so that’s a more than $15,000 per pa­tient, per year in­crease.

ICER pre­vi­ous­ly es­ti­mat­ed that Ver­tex would need to low­er the list price of Trikaf­ta to be­tween $67,900 and $85,500 per year in or­der to bring the cost in line with its ben­e­fits.

An­to­nio Ciac­cia

Analy­ses of the hun­dreds of price in­creas­es across the spec­trum have to be tak­en in­to con­text, and 46brook­lyn says that at first look, the de­gree of price in­creas­es in 2022 ap­pears to be “rel­a­tive­ly greater than the 2021 be­hav­ior.”

And ever since the in­for­mal 9.9% price hike ceil­ing was en­act­ed across phar­ma and biotech com­pa­nies, change in net prices over­all con­tin­ues to de­cline in 2022, af­ter three straight years of net price de­clines, ac­cord­ing to Adam Fein, CEO of the Drug Chan­nels In­sti­tute.

“Ob­vi­ous­ly the dev­il’s in the de­tails,” An­to­nio Ciac­cia of 46brook­lyn told End­points News.

Some brand drugs that have lost ex­clu­siv­i­ty have much high­er re­bates than true brand drugs. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, with launch prices be­ing a greater em­pha­sis point, it dis­torts the con­ver­sa­tion around re­bate vs list growth over time. And last­ly, since PBMs, in­sur­ers, and these new­er re­bate GPOs aren’t ob­lig­at­ed to pass through all those drug­mak­er con­ces­sions, even if net prices are go­ing down, that would be pure­ly from the view of the drug­mak­er, and the ac­tu­al pay­er may be hear­ing that net prices are go­ing down and won­der­ing, “huh?”

The news of the price in­creas­es comes as Con­gress is still try­ing to forge a deal around a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion bill that might in­clude drug pric­ing pro­vi­sions. Just be­fore the hol­i­day break, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) halt­ed progress on a deal that would’ve al­lowed Medicare to ne­go­ti­ate on drug prices. among oth­er pro­vi­sions.

Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News

How Pur­due's $272M ad­dic­tion pay­out fund­ed a new home for its dis­card­ed non-opi­oid re­search

Don Kyle spent more than 20 years working for Purdue Pharma, right through the US opioid epidemic that led to the company’s rise and eventual infamy. But contrary to Purdue’s focus on OxyContin, Kyle was researching non-opioid painkillers — that is, until the company shelved his research.

As the company’s legal troubles mounted, Kyle found an unlikely way to reboot the project. In 2019, he took his work to an Oklahoma State University center that’s slated to receive more than two-thirds of the state’s $272 million settlement with Purdue over claims that the drugmaker’s behavior ignited the epidemic of opioid use and abuse.

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Utpal Koppikar, new Verily CFO

Ex­clu­sive: Ver­i­ly wel­comes Atara Bio­ther­a­peu­tics vet­er­an as new CFO

Verily, Alphabet’s life sciences outfit, has plucked a new CFO from the ranks of Atara Biotherapeutics, the company announced on Wednesday.

Utpal Koppikar joins Verily after a nearly five-year stint as CFO and senior VP at Atara, though his résumé also boasts roles at Gilead and Amgen.

The news follows a major reshuffling at Verily, including several senior departures earlier this year and a round of layoffs.

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President Joe Biden at the State of the Union address with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Patrick Semansky/AP Images)

The drug pric­ing pres­i­dent: Biden warns of ve­to for any IRA re­peal at­tempts

President Joe Biden made clear in his “finish the job” State of the Union address last night that one of those jobs to be finished is insulin prices.

Biden’s push again to tackle insulin prices, after Republicans rebuffed the idea last summer and just after Biden won Medicare drug price negotiations/caps via the Inflation Reduction Act, shows how heavily he’s leaning into this work.

Singer Nick Jonas is back at work for Dexcom, this time for its new G7 glucose monitor.

Dex­com's spokescelebri­ty Nick Jonas re­turns to Su­per Bowl in new glu­cose mon­i­tor com­mer­cial

Dexcom is going back to the Super Bowl with its pop singer and patient spokesperson Nick Jonas. Jonas takes center stage as the lone figure in the 30-second commercial showcasing Dexcom’s next-generation G7 continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device.

Jonas’ sleight-of-hand tricks populate the commercial — he pinches his empty fingers together and pops them open to reveal the small CGM — even as he ends the ad, saying, “It’s not magic. It just feels that way.” Jonas then disappears in a puff of smoke.

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Richard Francis, newly-appointed Teva CEO (Novartis via Facebook)

New Te­va CEO Richard Fran­cis repri­or­i­tizes to 'get back to growth'

Six weeks into his new role at the helm of Teva Pharmaceutical, Richard Francis said it’s time to “get back to growth,” starting with a good look at the company’s priorities.

The chief executive has kicked off a strategic review, he announced during Teva’s quarterly call, which will continue over the next several months and produce results sometime in the middle of 2023. That means some pipeline cuts may be in store, he told Endpoints News, while declining to offer much more detail.

Sanofi is renewing its #VaccinesForDreams campaign with more stories, such as Juan's in Argentina (Sanofi)

Sanofi re­news so­cial cam­paign to re­mind that vac­cines let peo­ple ‘Dream Big’

Sanofi is highlighting people’s dreams — both big and small — to make the point that vaccines make them possible.

The renewed “Dream Big” global social media campaign’s newest dreamer is Juan, a teacher in the Misiones rainforest in Argentina whose story is told through videos on Instagram and Sanofi’s website with the hashtag #VaccinesForDreams.

The campaign ties to Sanofi’s broader umbrella initiative “Vaccine Stories” to promote the value of vaccines and drive awareness of the need for improved vaccination coverage.

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Rupert Vessey, Bristol Myers Squibb head of research and early development

Up­dat­ed: R&D tur­bu­lence at Bris­tol My­ers now in­cludes the end of a $650M al­liance and the de­par­ture of a top re­search cham­pi­on

This morning biotech Dragonfly put out word that Bristol Myers Squibb has handed back all rights to its IL-12 clinical-stage drug after spending $650 million to advance it into the clinic.

The news arrives amid a turbulent R&D stage for the pharma giant, which late last week highlighted Rupert Vessey’s decision to depart this summer as head of early-stage R&D following a crucial three-year stretch after he jumped to Bristol Myers in the big Celgene buyout. During that time he struck a series of deals for Bristol Myers, and also shepherded a number of Celgene programs down the pipeline, playing a major role for a lineup of biotechs which depended on him to champion their drugs.

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Bill Anderson, incoming Bayer CEO (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Bay­er taps Roche's Bill An­der­son to lead phar­ma gi­ant as CEO

We now know where Roche’s ex-pharma chief Bill Anderson is going.

German pharma giant Bayer announced Wednesday that Anderson will be taking on the role as CEO, less than six weeks after Anderson stepped down from his perch at Roche as head of the group’s pharmaceutical division.

Roche announced back in December that Anderson would depart on Dec. 31 to “pursue opportunities outside of Roche.” His replacement, Genentech vet and Roche’s current head of global product strategy, Teresa Graham, will start her role in March.

Iya Khalil, Merck VP and head of data, AI and genome sciences (Novartis)

Mer­ck-No­var­tis re­volv­ing door spins again as AI leader Iya Khalil switch­es phar­mas

As talk of AI this-and-that gobbles up headline after headline, one Big Pharma is losing its AI leader as she transitions to another drug giant: Iya Khalil will trade in her hat as Novartis’ go-to expert and leader in the space for Merck as VP and head of data, AI and genome sciences next week.

After nearly three years leading the artificial intelligence team at Novartis — as Big Pharma and biotechs alike latch onto the ripening AI-for-drug-discovery mode of operation — Khalil will switch employers to head up a similar post at Merck, where she’ll work out of Cambridge, MA beginning Feb. 13, the company tells Endpoints News.