A lot of eyes are on the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference taking place in Geneva June 12-15, as member countries try to reach a consensus on a proposal that would allow certain members to waive intellectual property (IP) rights on COVID-19 vaccines for at least three to five years.
The cost of providing COVID-19 vaccines and therapies for a possible fall surge in the U.S. is coming at the expense of testing and personal protection equipment. While other countries are planning for the expected surge by placing their orders for vaccines and therapies, “we are starting to lose our place in line,” White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Ashish Jha said during a June 9 media briefing.
News that the U.S. FTC is finally going to reexamine the role of pharmaceutical benefit managers (PBMs) and their impact on prescription drug prices and availability is playing to applause from several sectors that have been complaining for years about PBM practices.
The U.S. FDA’s accelerated approval path is front burner these days, what with Congress looking to modernize the path through provisions added to the must-pass user fee legislation, the controversy still boiling over the FDA’s accelerated approval last year of Biogen Inc.’s Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm (aducanumab), and a number of recent withdrawals of drugs granted accelerated approval years ago.
Given the safety and efficacy data presented June 7 for Novavax Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, it came as no surprise when the U.S. FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biologic Products Advisory Committee voted 21-0, with one abstention, to support an emergency use authorization for the vaccine, which is already approved and being used in many other countries, including the EU and Canada.
Following an investigation into Leadiant Group’s pricing of a rare disease drug, the Italian Competition Authority fined the privately held company about €3.5 million (US$3.76 million) May 31 for charging the Italian National Health Service excessive prices since 2017 for Chenodeoxycholic Acid Leadiant.