Friday, July 29, 2022 | Kaiser Health News

Wednesday, July 27, 2022 |  Kaiser Health News
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Spotlight Falls On HIV Prevention Drugs, With Some Criticism Of Makers

Stat reports on criticisms that ViiV’s generic HIV-preventing drug will not be available for up to four years. Cheap local copies of GSK’s anti-HIV drug could be available sooner. ADHD drugs and Rite Aid, a data breach at OneTouchPoint, soaring profits at Pfizer, and more are also in industry news.

Stat: A ViiV Deal To License Its HIV Prevention Shot To Poor Countries Runs Into Criticism

A key issue is that a generic version will not become available for perhaps as long as four years. A long-acting injectable is more complex to manufacture and some companies that agree to a license may require capital investment, according to ViiV. In the meantime, ViiV has agreed to supply its shot at a non-profit price in low-income nations and all sub-Saharan African countries. (Silverman, 7/28)

In other industry news —

Bloomberg: ADHD Startups Are Cut Off By Rite Aid, Adding To Pharmacy Bans

Rite Aid Corp. pharmacies are no longer filling prescriptions for controlled substances like Adderall from clinicians working with mental telehealth startups Cerebral Inc. and Done. The retail pharmacy chain, which has over 2,350 locations across the US, adopted the policy earlier this year, Rite Aid spokesperson Catherine Carter said in an email Thursday. (Swetlitz, 7/28)

Modern Healthcare: OneTouchPoint Reports Data Breach Involving 38 Providers, Insurers

OneTouchPoint, a vendor that offers printing and mailing services to insurers and providers, experienced a data breach in April that exposed patient information from 38 healthcare organizations, the company disclosed Wednesday. Humana, Kaiser Permanente, CareSource, Geisinger, HealthPartners and a few Blue Cross Blue Shield companies are among those the breach affected, OneTouchPoint said in a news release. (Berryman, 7/28)

On financial and legal developments in the industry —

AP: Pfizer’s Comirnaty, Paxlovid Push Q2 Sales To New Heights

Sales of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine and treatment in the second quarter propelled the pharmaceutical giant to the largest quarterly sales in its history. The coronavirus vaccine Comirnaty brought in $8.85 billion in sales, and the treatment Paxlovid added another $8.12 billion as company revenue totaled $27.74 billion. (Murphy and Chapman, 7/28)

Modern Healthcare: Biosimilars To Limit Drug Price Increases In 2023, Report Shows

Drug price growth will slow next year as biosimilars are expected to curb the price of the world’s best-selling drug, a report found. Pharmaceutical prices are projected to increase 3.26% in 2023, marking a steep decline from the 6% price hike in 2017, according to the group purchasing organization Vizient, which forecasts what its member hospitals and health systems might pay for drugs after discounts and rebates. Vizient predicted a 3.3% increase last year; the actual price change was 2.8%. The 2017 spike was the highest in the last five years. (Kacik, 7/28)

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Modern Healthcare: Amedisys Records 63% Loss In Second Quarter

Amedisys saw its net income drop 63% to $29.6 million during the second quarter, which followed a 36% loss in prior three months, the company disclosed Wednesday. During an earnings call Thursday, President and CEO Chris Gerard attributed the negative results to fewer discharges to home health from hospitals, staffing shortages and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Christ, 7/28)

Stat: Teladoc’s Earnings Point To Potential Threats To The Telehealth Industry

“The challenge that we’re seeing is in these times of economic uncertainty, all purchases are just getting a significantly higher level of scrutiny,” CEO Jason Gorevic said in an earnings call Wednesday. Gorevic also noted that declining yield on advertising suggests that individual patients may start spending less on direct-to-consumer services like BetterHelp, the company’s mental health care offering. Those hurdles aren’t unique to Teladoc. Competitors like Amwell and Talkspace could also have to grapple with cutbacks. (Ravindranath, 7/28)

The Wall Street Journal: Labcorp To Spin Off Clinical-Development Business

Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings LH 1.17%▲ plans to spin off its unit focused on clinical drug trials, a move that will create a new stand-alone company in the fast-growing contract-research sector. Burlington, NC-based Labcorp unveiled the plan to separate its clinical-development business Thursday alongside its second-quarter results. Labcorp will continue its focus on its core diagnostic-testing business and will also retain two related pieces of its drug-development unit. (Lombardo, 7/28)

AP: Blue Cross & Blue Shield Of Mississippi Sue For Defamation

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi on Thursday said it was suing three employees of the University of Mississippi Medical Center for allegedly spreading false information. The lawsuit is the latest development in a dispute between the state’s largest health insurance provider and the hospital that surfaced in March when the two sides failed to reach an agreement over how much the insurer would pay for patient care. (7/28)

KHN: Hospices Have Become Big Business For Private Equity Firms, Raising Concerns About End-Of-Life Care

Hospice care, once provided primarily by nonprofit agencies, has seen a remarkable shift over the past decade, with more than two-thirds of hospices nationwide now operating as for-profit entities. The ability to turn a quick profit in caring for people in their last days of life is attracting a new breed of hospice owners: private equity firms. That rapid growth has many hospice veterans worried that the original hospice vision may be fading, as those capital investment companies’ demand for return on investment and the debt load they force hospices to bear are hurting patients and their families. (Hawryluk, 7/29)

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