Thursday, July 28, 2016

Drug Channels News Roundup, July 2016: Biosimilars, Drug Prices, Morris & Dickson

The hot and hazy days of summer are here. Go for a swim to cool off and then enjoy this refreshing selection of articles with the Drug Channels seals of approval.

In this issue:
  • Great HBS research on biosimilars in Europe
  • An entertaining video primer on the realities of regulating drug prices
  • Say happy birthday to drug wholesaler Morris & Dickson
Plus, The New Yorker helps you interpret the latest scary health news.

P.S. Don’t forget to follow @DrugChannels on Twitter for my daily links to stuff worth reading.

The Impact of the Entry of Biosimilars: Evidence from Europe, Harvard Business School Working Paper 16-141
Professors Fiona M. Scott Morton, Ariel Dora Stern, and Scott Stern have written a stellar academic research paper on the first eight years of biosimilar competition in 23 European countries. The study focuses on three biosimilar classes that were approved in Europe: Epoetin, Filgrastim, and Somatropin.

Its key conclusion: “We show that the existence and identity of the residual claimant in the procurement process – namely the party who saves money when the biosimilar is dispensed – is critical to understanding the penetration of biosimilars and cost savings from their use.”

My plain English translation: Incentives matter. I foreshadowed this finding in Zarxio: How Channel Dynamics Will Limit the First U.S. Biosimilar. If you are scared by jargon such as “heterogeneity” and “instrumental variables,” then just read the first 22 pages and then skip to page 46. You’ll get a concise and insightful summary of the regulatory and public policy environment for biologics—not only in Europe but in the U.S. as well.

Sounds Like A Good Idea? Regulating Drug Prices, Kaiser Health News
Enjoy this unexpectedly useful summary of “why proposals to regulate drug prices may not be such a good idea after all.” Worth watching with your pharma-clueless friends.

One downside: the video repeats the misleading statement about U.S. drug prices compared with other countries. I'll address that issue in an upcoming post.

Second oldest Louisiana business celebrates 175 years, Shreveport Times
In 2016, drug wholesaler Morris & Dickson Co. is celebrating its terquasquicentennial. The article provides a brief look at the business, which had sales of $4.2 billion in 2015. If you want to know more, buy Morris & Dickson Co. Since 1841: The Story of an Enduring Family Business, an actual hardcover book available from Amazon. (Yes, of course I bought it!)

Scientists Decide Thing Previously Thought Healthy, Then Unhealthy, Before Healthy Again, Does, In Fact, Cause Cancer, The New Yorker
Here’s a good antidote to the health stories dished out every day in the news. These studies always remind me of my favorite xkcd comic:

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