Pharmaceutical Price Wars: $129K-A-Year Cancer Drug Next In The Cross Hairs Lawmakers are urging federal agencies to step in to cut prices of Xtandi, a prostate cancer drug that’s price is four times greater in the United States than in other developed countries. The move is the latest in efforts to get control of spiking costs. A cancer drug that costs $129,000 a year—more than three times the price in Japan and Sweden and four times the Canadian cost—has become the latest subject of public and congressional scrutiny, as 12 representatives joined nonprofits to call for a public hearing on the drug’s price. Xtandi, a prostate cancer drug co-licenced by Japan’s Astellas Pharma Inc. and Medivation Inc., was developed at a U.S. university with grants funded by taxpayer dollars. That gives the federal government the right to revoke the patent if the terms are unreasonable, said the letter, dated Monday. (Court, 3/29) It’s not just patients who are getting tired of ever rising drug prices. Doctors are joining the chorus of frustration. The latest voice? The American College of Physicians, whose membership includes 143,000 internal medicine doctors. It published a position paper Monday calling for the government and industry to take steps to rein in spiraling costs. “This is consistent with our mission to put the patient first,” Dr. Wayne Riley, ACP president, tell Shots. We’ve heard from our patients, and our patients are frustrated with dealing with this.” (Kodjak, 3/29) In a letter to the heads of the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health, Reps. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) urged the agencies to step in to cut prices for Xtandi, saying it costs four times as much in the U.S. as in some other developed countries. They are asking for public hearings on the drug. The lawmakers want the NIH to consider overriding Xtandi’s patent, which guarantees Medivation and Astellas exclusive sales for a decade or more. Overriding the patent would allow for Xtandi’s price to be reduced. (3/29) It seems that politicians aren’t going to drop the issue of high drug prices any time soon. That is a problem for biotechnology investors. A dozen congressional Democrats sent a letter to senior officials at the Department of Health and Human Services and National Institutes of Health regarding the high price of a prostate cancer treatment, Xtandi. The members of Congress, who called for hearings over the drug’s price, noted in their letter that existing law allows the NIH to help lower the price of the drug. (Grant, 3/29) The Wall Street Journal: Lawmakers Target Medivation Over Drug Prices NPR: Physician Group Calls On Government To Rein In Drug Prices The Associated Press: Makers Of Pricey Prostate Cancer Drug Xtandi Are Targeted By Congress The Wall Street Journal: Drug Pricing Issue Still Plagues Biotech In other pharmaceutical news — The Wall Street Journal: Acadia Gets FDA Panel Backing For Drug For Psychosis In Parkinson’s Patients Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s treatment for psychosis associated with Parkinson’s disease moved a step closer to approval after receiving the support of a U.S. regulatory panel. An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted 12-2 that the benefits of Acadia’s drug pimavanserin, to be marketed as Nuplazid, outweighed the risks of treatment. (Minaya, 3/29) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.