News Briefs: Are Plans Paying Enough for COVID Drugs?

Health insurers and PBMs are paying pharmacies low rates — from one cent to $10 — for filling prescriptions of COVID-19 drugs Paxlovid and molnupiravir, The Wall Street Journal reports. Those fees often don’t cover the costs of filling prescriptions for the Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co. drugs, pharmacists say, and thus some are refusing to stock the pills. The National Community Pharmacists Association is also lobbying CMS to recommend a $40 reimbursement rate for Paxlovid and molnupiravir, similar to what Medicare pays pharmacies for administering the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the article.

A Phase III clinical trial of AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo drug Enhertu (trastuzumab deruxtecan) delivered promising results that could position the therapy to become a standard treatment for a large group of breast cancer patients. In a Feb. 21 press release, the drug companies reported that Enhertu prolonged survival and slowed the progression of metastatic breast cancer with low levels of a protein known as HER2. The improvement was “clinically meaningful” when compared with standard chemotherapy, and this is the first time such a therapy has shown a benefit in breast cancer patients who have low levels of HER2 expression — a group comprising 55% of all breast cancer patients — the drugmakers said.

© 2022 MMIT
AIS Health Staff

AIS Health Staff

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