Brainstorm Health: Gottlieb Insulin Comments, Telehealth Apps, Actelion Settlement

December 11, 2018, 11:40 PM UTC

Good afternoon, readers.

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner (FDA) Scott Gottlieb isn’t exactly shy about speaking his mind on what he perceives are the pitfalls of American prescription drug policy. The agency chief didn’t break the habit on Tuesday, issuing a stern (and very long) missive against the skyrocketing price of insulin.

“Today, insulin list prices regularly increase by double digits annually. In mid-November, the Congressional Research Service reported that the list price of one type of insulin had increased nearly 600 percent from 2001-2015, from $35 dollars a vial to $234,” wrote Gottlieb in an FDA statement. “Another study from the Schaefer Center at USC found that “the average U.S. list price of [four insulin categories] increased by 15% to 17% per year from 2012 to 2016.”

The point of Gottlieb’s note, which includes an extensive defense of his FDA tenure (such as policies ostensibly geared toward lowering drug prices through expedited medicine approvals), is to point to several new proposals that could, Gottlieb says, help lower the price of insulin, too.

“The new pathway we’re laying out today should help usher in a new era of competition for these products that’ll lead to lower prices and better access. Change won’t happen overnight. But we’ve crafted this policy to meet the needs of patients. It’s an opportunity that can’t come soon enough for the thousands of Americans who struggle to pay for insulin,” he said.

You can read Gottlieb’s entire statement here.

Read on for the day’s news.


The most downloaded telehealth apps. MobiHealthNews reports on a new analysis from App Annie that points to today's hottest telemedicine apps (as measured through Apple and Google marketplaces). The top hits, according to the report? American Well, Doctor on Demand, Teladoc, MDLive, and HealthTap (all of the apps range from 4.3 to 4.9 stars out of 5 in the ratings section). (MobiHealthNews)


J&J unit shells out $360 million over kickback claims. Johnson & Johnson's Actelion unit has paid $360 million to settle charges of a kickback scheme involving copay payments for certain Medicare patients using the bitoech's arterial hypertension drugs. Actelion was Europe's largest biotech prior to its acquisition by J&J. (BioSpace)


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