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Author Topic: Merck's commitment to providing access to treatment  (Read 1585 times)

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Offline ElZorro

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Merck's commitment to providing access to treatment
« on: October 30, 2010, 02:02:58 AM »
This is from a 2008 press release. Does anyone know if this price freeze has been extended or of any activity to influence an extension?

In the United States, Merck is freezing the price for AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) of ISENTRESS at its launch price until December 31, 2010. ADAP is a unique fixed-funding program with a flat federal budget whose cost burden and patient load continues to grow. In freezing the price of ISENTRESS, Merck will help mitigate the funding challenges of these programs.


Offline Assurbanipal

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Re: Merck's commitment to providing access to treatment
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2010, 09:23:50 AM »
Yes, a lot has happened here -- including extending the price freeze through 2013

Merck and The ADAP Crisis Task Force Announce Key Initiatives to Help Provide Funding Relief to AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) across the U.S.WEBWIRE – Thursday, May 06, 2010
Price Freeze of ISENTRESS® (raltegravir) tablets for ADAPs Through 2013 and Acceleration of Rebate Payments to States among Important Initiatives Highlighted

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., Today, Merck & Co., Inc., and the ADAP Crisis Task Force (ACTF) announced a series of key initiatives to help struggling state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) continue to provide people living with HIV access to medicines. The ACTF is pleased that, among these initiatives, Merck is:

* Extending the price freeze of ISENTRESS® that was first established with the ACTF in 2008 to eligible ADAPs through Dec. 31, 2013.

* Extending the price freeze on CRIXIVAN® (indinavir sulfate) capsules that was first established with the ACTF in 2003 to eligible ADAPs through Dec. 31, 2013.

* Working with the ACTF to provide expanded financial relief to eligible ADAPs through increased discounts for ISENTRESS and CRIXIVAN.

* Expediting the processing of state rebate claims to speed up rebate payments to eligible ADAPs.

* Working with the National Alliance of State and Territorial Directors (NASTAD) to find solutions to provide technical assistance to ADAP programs.

"On behalf of the nearly two hundred thousand clients that ADAPs serve, we applaud Merck for its continued commitment to HIV" said Dwayne Haught, manager, HIV Medication Program for the Texas Department of State Health Services and a spokesperson for the ADAP Crisis Task Force. "Merck’s history of HIV research, along with its responsible pricing and related efforts to help alleviate the current funding crisis facing ADAPs, is consistent with Merck’s track record of working to help ensure access to treatments such as CRIXIVAN and ISENTRESS for the people most in need"

"ADAPs provide crucial support for uninsured and underserved people living with HIV" said Patrick Bergstedt, senior vice president and general manager, Merck Infectious Diseases Franchise. "At Merck we believe that it is important that ADAPs are able to continue to provide support for as many people that need it, especially given the unprecedented fiscal challenges confronting many states at this time"

"These actions come at a time when federal funding for ADAPs remains flat and state funding continues to decrease, making it difficult for the ADAP programs to provide access and care to the patients they serve" said Lynda Dee, spokesperson for the Fair Pricing Coalition. "The Fair Pricing Coalition commends Merck for its long-standing commitment to providing access to treatment and welcomes Merck’s new initiatives to help with the current funding crises.”

Expansion of Special Pricing Program for ISENTRESS and CRIXIVAN and extension of price freeze to eligible ADAPs through 2013
The ACTF, a group of state ADAP and AIDS directors that is convened by NASTAD, requested that drug companies consider implementation of cost control measures, such as a price freeze of HIV drugs to ADAPs to help mitigate the current financial crises. In response, Merck established an expanded Special Pricing Program for its HIV medicines for eligible ADAPs. The expanded Special Pricing Programs for ISENTRESS and CRIXIVAN will begin July 1, 2010 and extend through Dec. 31, 2013. The price freeze extension follows Merck’s earlier agreement with the ACTF in 2008 to freeze the price of ISENTRESS to eligible ADAPs at its launch price. The extension of its price freeze on CRIXIVAN to eligible ADAPs will also last through Dec. 31, 2013. When it announced its voluntary price freeze in 2003, Merck was the first company to freeze the price of an anti-retroviral (ARV) drug to ADAPs. Merck will reassess these programs in 2014, after implementation of the U.S. government’s newly expanded Medicaid program and subsidized private health insurance plans mandated by health care reform legislation (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).

Fast pay of rebates and technical assistance
In addition to the expanded Special Pricing Program for ISENTRESS and CRIXIVAN, Merck is committed to assisting eligible ADAPs with cash flow and to reducing the number of patients waiting to receive treatment. As such, the Company has changed its existing state invoice payment process to accelerate the payment of Merck rebates to eligible ADAPs.

Merck’s patient assistance programs in the U.S.
Merck’s commitment to patients’ access to its products is evidenced through its HIV SUPPORTTM program, which helps patients who have been prescribed ISENTRESS or CRIXIVAN by providing personalized support and patient advocacy regarding individual reimbursement issues. The SUPPORTTM program also offers patient assistance, which may include providing ISENTRESS or CRIXIVAN free of charge to eligible patients. Information about the SUPPORT Program can be obtained by calling 1-800-850-3430 or at www.isentress.com.
Patients who are on ADAP waiting lists or who are awaiting ADAP approval may be eligible to receive ISENTRESS or CRIXIVAN for free through the SUPPORTTM program.

Merck’s co-pay assistance program
In addition to the SUPPORT Program, Merck has a co-pay assistance program in the U.S. for eligible patients on ISENTRESS who are commercially insured and have co-pays or coinsurance above $30, up to $400 per prescription. With this program, eligible patients can receive savings off their out-of-pocket costs for 12 prescriptions prior to the programs expiration in July 2011. Information about the co-pay assistance program can be obtained by calling 866-350-9232 or at www.isentress.com.

5/06 VL 1M+, CD4 22, 5% , pneumonia, thrush -- O2 support 2 months, 6/06 +Kaletra/Truvada
9/06 VL 3959 CD4 297 13.5% 12/06 VL <400 CD4 350 15.2% +Pravachol
2007 VL<400, 70, 50 CD4 408-729 16.0% -19.7%
2008 VL UD CD4 468 - 538 16.7% - 24.6% Osteoporosis 11/08 doubled Pravachol, +Calcium/D
02/09 VL 100 CD4 616 23.7% 03/09 VL 130 5/09 VL 100 CD4 540 28.4% +Actonel (osteoporosis) 7/09 VL 130
8/09  new regimen Isentress/Epzicom 9/09 VL UD CD4 621 32.7% 11/09 VL UD CD4 607 26.4% swap Isentress for Prezista/Norvir 12/09 (liver and muscle issues) VL 50
2010 VL UD CD4 573-680 26.1% - 30.9% 12/10 VL 20
2011 VL UD-20 CD4 568-673 24.7%-30.6%
2012 VL UD swap Prezista/Norvir for Reyataz drop statin CD4 768-828 26.7%-30.7%
2014 VL UD - 48
2015 VL 130 Moved to Triumeq

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Merck's commitment to providing access to treatment
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2010, 10:09:31 AM »
Considering that when Isentress was first FDA approved in November, 2007 it was just prescribed for those of us with multiple class resistance issues and (generally) on salvage therapy Fuzeon, but not three years later it's approved for treatment naive patients and more and more widely prescribed, I'd suggest changing the pricing structure downwards, not just freezing it.  You know, if they really were interested in helping ADAP issues.

Of course, that won't ever happen.  They probably consider themselves saints for not ratcheting up the price like Abbott did once Norvir went from antiquated PI obscurity to necessary low dose boosting agent.

And yes, I understand that profit margins fund R&D for other treatments, but even a marginal decrease for ADAP use would be beneficial without impacting Merck's ability to research other things.  Anyway, Gilead will own the entire world of treatment by this time next year.
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Offline Inchlingblue

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Re: Merck's commitment to providing access to treatment
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2010, 10:28:14 AM »
Miss P knows from whence she speaks.

Merck is not as charitable as they would like some to believe. See below.

And freezing prices for ADAP only means that those with private insurance will end up paying more to make up for it. The system as it now stands is not sustainable.


« Last Edit: October 30, 2010, 10:31:03 AM by Inchlingblue »

Offline ElZorro

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Re: Merck's commitment to providing access to treatment
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2010, 10:47:27 AM »
And yes, I understand that profit margins fund R&D for other treatments, but even a marginal decrease for ADAP use would be beneficial without impacting Merck's ability to research other things.  Anyway, Gilead will own the entire world of treatment by this time next year.

I'm all for companies making profits, but I think the money that large pharma receives in the form of research grants is often overlooked.

Offline Inchlingblue

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Re: Merck's commitment to providing access to treatment
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2010, 10:52:28 AM »
I'm pretty sure I read somewhere a few months ago that, due to its rising cost, many ADAPs were considering removing Isentress from their formularies except for salvage use which is another reason for the price freeze, it's not charity. Merck wants doctors to continue to be able to prescribe Isentress as first line so it can compete with the other preferred first line options.


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