|Home | About Bipolar Disorder | About David Oliver | Bipolar Articles/Stories | Bipolar Success Stories | Blogs and Podcast | Catalog | Contact | Current Bipolar News David Oliver In the News | Donate | Events | FAQ's | FREE Resources | Health Directory | Other Illnesses | Recommended Sites | Site Map | Speaking | Testimonials|
February 4, 2006
Note: One or more of the following articles may require a subscription to view the entire article. We cannot post articles that require a subscription. We are sorry for the inconvenience.
Sean Astin on bipolar disorder
Man sentenced in stabbing death
Westporter's research sheds new light on bipolar disorder
New clues on bipolar causes, treatments
Lawmakers must punish abusers
Psychiatric Disorders Conference to Feature Advances in Schizophrenia,
Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar and Related
Bipolar Gene Discovery No Big Deal to Bipolar Disability Victims, Says
Residents uneasy about their future neighbors
Ohio Medicare patient testifies to Congress
Investigator: Erratic driver said she was 'on a mission'
Drug companies to profit from Medicare plan
The Record (Bergen County, NJ); 2/3/2006; TONY PUGH, KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
WASHINGTON — The new Medicare drug benefit will give drug companies up to $2 billion in extra profits this year because they're no longer required to pay rebates on drugs bought by the government for the elderly poor.
The hefty windfall raises new concerns that the Bush administration won't fully realize its promises of lower drug prices in the troubled new program.
The boost in profits comes from a shift in the drug coverage of 6.4 million poor and elderly people from Medicaid to the new Medicare drug benefit. Unlike Medicaid, which requires drug companies to charge their lowest or "best price" for medications, the Medicare program relies on competition among private drug plans to keep prices low. By eliminating the need to discount drugs for the government, the industry can now pocket the savings.
"The net effect over 10 years is probably closer to $40 billion in extra profit," said Stephen Schondelmeyer, a pharmaceutical economics professor at the University of Minnesota.
A little-known study by the Prudential Equity Group from June 2005 estimated that the makers of three anti-psychotic medications stand to benefit most from the change, taking in roughly $1.1 billion in new profits on products used by the 6.4 million who are Medicare's most poor and frail patients.
Experts say drug prices in the Medicare program will be higher this year than prices under Medicaid because the private Medicare drug plans won't likely match the price discounts achieved by Medicaid, the joint state and federal health program for the poor.
But the new profit estimates and the higher drug price projections have rekindled accusations that the Medicare drug benefit enriches drug companies at the expense of U.S. taxpayers.
Medicare administrator Mark McClellan questioned Prudential's findings. In testimony Thursday before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, he said Medicare plans are covering people at a cost average of 15 percent less than expected, which has helped push the average plan premium down to $25 from an original estimate of $37.
As a result, the cost of the drug plan likely will be $30.5 billion in 2006, down from an earlier estimate of $38.1 billion, McClellan testified. And the program's 10-year cost estimate has likewise dipped from $926 billion to $797 billion.
"The drug plans are negotiating aggressive discounts and rebates that are being passed along to beneficiaries and taxpayers," McClellan said.
According to Prudential, the medications that will gain the most and the profits they're likely to reap are Seroquel by AstraZeneca ($521 million), Lamictal by GlaxoSmithKline ($298 million) and Zyprexa by Eli Lilly ($285 million).
Those figures reflect Prudential's estimates that Medicare drug plans will negotiate discounts amounting to only 5 percent of what the drug companies paid in rebates to Medicaid on those products.
An AstraZeneca representative questioned the study's methodology, saying the profit estimate for Seroquel, a schizophrenia medication, was too high. AstraZeneca gave no alternate figures. A GlaxoSmithKline representative wouldn't discuss projected earnings for Lamictal, a treatment for bipolar disorder. A representative for Lilly said the company expected only a "modest short-term benefit to sales" for Zyprexa under the Medicare program, but wouldn't give specifics.
Zyprexa, also a schizophrenia treatment, is Lilly's top-selling product, with U.S. sales of $2.04 billion in 2005. Lilly's earnings per share could rise by 6 percent in 2006 just by escaping the rebates, the Prudential study estimates.
With U.S. sales of $2.76 billion in 2005, Seroquel's increased Medicare profit could boost AstraZeneca's earnings per share by 8 percent, the report found.
Company policy prohibits Prudential analysts from discussing reports with non-clients, said company spokesman Jim Gorman.
Tony Butler, managing director and pharmaceutical analyst at Lehman Bros., an investment bank in New York, agreed with the report that Medicare would probably have higher drug prices than Medicaid. Butler estimated the sales windfall for drug companies under Medicare to be between $1.8 billion and $2 billion.
He said profits would likely increase in coming years as more businesses cut retirees' drug benefits and steer their former employees into the Medicare drug plans.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., ranking minority member of the House Committee on Government Reform, has asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate the profits as a waste of taxpayer money.
In a Jan. 27 letter to GAO Comptroller General David M. Walker, Waxman wrote: "There appears to be no rational policy justification for providing this immense hidden subsidy to the drug industry. ... It appears that the only party benefiting in this arrangement are the drug companies that give millions to the Republican leaders who drafted the legislation."
Copyright © 2006 Bergen Record Corp. All rights reserved.
This Week's Bipolar News
Specific gene variants may raise bipolar disorder risk
Suboptimal Serum Lithium Level Monitoring Observed in Older Adults
Click here for all Bipolar News.
The Warning Signs Of An Impending Bipolar Disorder Manic Episode
Bipolar disorder - as the name implies - involves two distinct set of symptoms. One set throws the individual down into the depths of a massive depression. The other places the individual who suffers with bipolar disorder at the top of a peak manic episode.
Most everyone can eventually recognize the warning signs of an impending depressive episode related to bipolar disorder. More likely than not, individuals with bipolar disorder try very hard to avoid it.
However, for many individuals with bipolar disorder, it's more difficult to recognize the signs of an impending manic episode. After all, a manic episode of bipolar disorder can be mistaken in some cases - especially in the very early formation -- for the lifting of the corresponding mood swing of the depression.
Home | About
Bipolar Disorder |
About David Oliver | Bipolar
Articles/Stories | Bipolar
Success Stories | Blogs
and Podcast | Catalog |
| Current Bipolar
David Oliver In the News | Donate | Events | FAQ's | FREE Resources | Health Directory | Other Illnesses | Recommended Sites | Site Map | Speaking | Testimonials
| The information contained
on this web page is not meant to provide medical advice.
Specific medical advice should be obtained from a qualified and licensed health-care practitioner.
There is no warranty that the information is free from all errors and omissions or that it meets any particular standard.
Copyright 2004- 2019 , BipolarCentral.com