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Prescription Drugs

  • U.S. Spending on Prescription Drugs Rose Less Than 1 Percent Last Year  Stat by Ed Silverman — Amid national turmoil over rising drug costs, a new report finds that spending on prescription medicines in the U.S. last year grew a modest 0.6 percent, to $324 billion, after accounting for rebates and discounts that are paid by drug makers. And real net per-capita spending fell by 2.2 percent, when adjusted for those allowances, as well as for population and economic growth. The rebates and discounts mean that drugmakers are realizing less revenue than the stated list prices for their medicines. The difference last year was $130 billion, up from $74 billion, according to data from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, which is part of the IQVIA market research firm. List prices, meanwhile, rose a modest 1.4 percent.

  • Cigna-Express Scripts Deal to Face Justice Department Review  Bloomberg News by Zachary Tracer and David McLaughlin — Cigna Corp. confirmed that its proposed $54 billion acquisition of Express Scripts Holding Co. will be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice, which has raised the bar for approving deals that don't combine direct competitors. The health insurer has been telling investors since at least early April about the review, but hadn't made a public statement until late Wednesday. Analysts at Credit Suisse sent an alert to clients on April 5, saying Cigna Chief Executive Officer David Cordani told investors during an event in Europe that the deal would be looked at by the Justice Department. Cigna agreed in March to acquire Express Scripts, a pharmacy-benefits manager, wagering that the combination can reduce costs and improve benefits for Americans by simplifying the health-care supply chain. CVS Health Corp. separately struck a $68 billion deal for Aetna Inc., a transaction that's also facing Justice Department review.

  • Drug Industry Facing Onslaught from Frustrated States  The Hill by Rachel Roubein — Congress hasn't done much to rein in the costs of prescription drugs, so states are taking matters into their own hands. While lawmakers have railed against pharmaceutical executives and accused them of jacking up prices, they haven't passed major legislation on the issue. That lack of action has, in part, spurred state legislatures to consider a slew of bills aimed at decreasing the cost of drugs, increasing price transparency and cracking down on controversial industry practices.

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