Gleostine Price Hike Undercuts Drugmakers’ Campaign to Deflect Blame for High Prices

(Washington, D.C.) — The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) released the following statement on the decision to raise Gleostine’s price from $50 to $768:

“The drug company’s decision to raise the price of the forty-year-old drug Gleostine by 1400% – despite no change in the supply chain – undermines drugmakers’ attempt to blame their pricing decisions on the insurers, pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), and wholesalers through which patients access medicines.

This highlights the obvious point that drugmakers set prices like other manufacturers – according to whatever the market will bear, regardless of underlying costs. Drug price increases are also unrelated to the rebates negotiated by PBMs.

Many high-priced drugs like Sovaldi, which initially cost $84,000, involved no rebates at all. In fact, large percentage rebates often involve lower priced drugs that face significant competition. While PBMs typically pass through 90% of rebates to the employers, unions, and insurers that hire them, a growing number of plan sponsors require 100% pass through. Plan sponsors use rebates to reduce premiums, out-of-pocket costs, and other expenses.

Although drugmakers are lobbying for new mandates forcing Medicare Part D plans to use rebates to reduce point-of-sale costs instead of premiums, CMS has noted that this would raise premiums by up to $28 billion and taxpayer costs by up to $82 billion over the next decade. This would also create a windfall for drugmakers, who would pay up to $29 billion less in Part D donut-hole discounts.

As the Administration and Congress explore ways to improve the health care system, PCMA’s DrugBenefitSolutions campaign explains how PBMs reduce costs for public and private programs. The campaign includes videos on how prescription drug pricing works and how rebates and other discounts reduce costs for consumers and payers.”