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Reducing the cost of pharmaceuticals

Reducing the cost of pharmaceuticals
July 21 2020

Drugmakers raised the price of hundreds of medicines during the coronavirus pandemic, even in the face of Trump administration vows to crack down on surging drug costs and efforts to tack price controls on Covid-19 relief packages.

Pharmaceutical companies logged more than 800 price increases this year, and adjusted the cost of 42 medicines upward by an average of 3.3 percent so far in July, according to GoodRx, which tracks the prices consumers pay at pharmacies. While the size of that increase is not out of line with past years, the number of branded drugs seeing hikes this month was higher than last year.

Three treatments for patients with respiratory illnesses but not specifically the coronavirus — Bevespi Aerosphere, Daliresp and Tyvaso — saw hikes of 5, 6, and 4.5 percent, respectively. Tyvaso’s increases over the year total 12.8 percent and bring its list price to $18,111.22.

Significant hikes this month also include AstraZeneca’s 6 percent increase on heartburn medicine Nexium — to $265.84 for a month’s supply — despite the product being on the market for years and having several generic rivals. Two medicines for childhood ADHD with no generic competitors also saw increases of up to 10 percent.

As a start-up dedicated to reducing prescription medication costs for consumers, GoodRx is uniquely well-suited to tackle the American healthcare market's complex pricing models. With more than 17 million unique monthly users, GoodRx has helped its users save more than $5B in prescription costs in 2019 alone thanks to its pharmacy-coupon aggregation service and its pharmacy-price comparison tool.

Given the often exorbitant drug prices at the pharmacy, it's not shocking that people are eager to pay less for their prescriptions. The pandemic brought increased focus into the healthcare system. Startups aiming to reduce costs for patients are well-positioned for a public debut with increased profiles. 

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Startups that Tackle High Drug Prices:

Blink puts prices of drugs online, allowing people to see the price of their prescription and compare it to the price being offered by their medical insurance plan or pharmacy. The company then lets people pay for their prescriptions online and pick them up at a local pharmacy. Blink negotiates directly with drug manufacturers, such as Eli Lilly and Roche, to offer discounted drug prices by grouping user purchases and appearing to be a large drug-purchasing organization. It is able to offer lower prices by bypassing middlemen in the prescription drug supply chain. In October 2018, Blink began offering home delivery for its prescription drug service.

Hoy Health offers two different products that aim to reduce generic drug prices and allow people to get the medications they need. The first product, HoyMEDS, is a discount prescription savings card that most pharmacies in the US and Puerto Rico accept. Users can go online to compare the prices of generic medications at different pharmacies where they live. HoyRX allows people in the US, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to purchase vouchers online that they or their loved ones in these countries can use with a valid prescription to receive their medications. This service means that people can directly purchase their family members’ medicines, even if they live abroad, without having to pay high remittance fees.

RxRevu focuses on improving medication price transparency at the point of care. The startup’s SwiftRx product integrates with the EHR and provides prescribing physicians with cost, formulary, and benefits data for each patient they see. SwiftRx also makes it easy for physicians to see if a particular drug has lower-cost alternatives with a clinically equivalent therapeutic effect. With SwiftRx, doctors can make informed prescribing decisions with patients’ physical, mental, and financial well-being in mind.

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Since last week, PrivCo has added:
1422 Profiles Updates | 199 M&A Deals176 Funding Activities

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Coursera, the global online learning platform founded by prominent artificial intelligence researcher Andrew Ng, raises $130M in Series F funding.

SAB Biotherapeutics (SAB), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a proprietary technology to produce fully human polyclonal antibodies without the need for human plasma donors, announces it has closed its Series B funding round at $14M. New investor, global healthcare leader Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, was joined by South Dakota Equity Partners and several other follow-on and private investors.

Hapbee Technologies, Inc. ("Hapbee" or the "Company"), a wellness technology company developing the revolutionary Hapbee wearable, announces the closing of a financing for gross proceeds of approximately C$6.5M.

Cohere Health's launch is flanked by the news of its recent $10< Series A funding round led by Flare Capital Partners, with Define Ventures as an investor and partner as well as participation from an additional leading national strategic partner.

Spin Memory, Inc., the leading developer of MRAM technologies, announced an extension of its Series B funding round, having received additional investment from all major investors. The funding includes recent investors, Arm, Applied Ventures, LLC (the venture capital arm of Applied Materials, Inc.) and Abies Ventures (Abies), as well as the company’s founding investor, Allied Minds.

Forcura, a healthcare technology company, announces that it has secured a significant growth investment from Accel-KKR, a leading Silicon Valley-based technology-focused private equity firm.

Stamford’s Clearview Capital Fund III has acquired Cascade Water Systems Corp. by its portfolio company, Orchard & Vineyard Supply (OVS). Financial details about the transaction, which closed on July 3, were not made available.

GHK Capital Partners LP (“GHK”), a Greenwich, Connecticut based private equity firm pursuing control investments within the industrials sector, announces that it completed the acquisition of Hasa, Inc. (the “Company” or “Hasa”). Hasa is a California-based manufacturer and distributor of water treatment chemicals and ancillary products in the western and southwestern U.S.  Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

CNL Strategic Capital, LLC closes an investment in Healthcare Safety Holdings LLC (HSH). CNL Strategic Capital holds a majority stake in HSH and this is the seventh company in CNL Strategic Capital’s portfolio.

Starkweather & Shepley Insurance Brokerage Inc. (S&S) acquires Newport Insurance Agency Inc. (NIA).

Astute, Inc. (“Astute”), a leader in customer engagement software, announces its acquisition of iPerceptions, a company that specializes in collecting and analyzing Voice of Customer (VoC) data to help elevate the customer experience.

Trivest Partners invests in Fortress Brand, a New York-based provider of retail management services designed to help brands maximize sales and marketing efficiency in online marketplaces. Based near Miami, Trivest typically partners with family-owned companies through both minority and majority stake investments.

Bow River Capital 2019 Software Growth Equity Fund ("Bow River") announces that is has completed a majority recapitalization of Altvia, a proven provider of cloud-based CRM, deal management, and investor lifecycle management software purpose built for private capital markets firms. The Altvia platform more efficiently and cost-effectively manages the GP and LP experience, compliance requirements, and reporting. Altvia's current management team will continue to lead the organization, with new seasoned software executives in Technology and Revenue Growth poised to join the team. Bow River's growth capital enables the company to accelerate growth, rapidly deliver on innovations within its product suite, and scale across every dimension.

VideoPeel, the automated video testimonial platform for remotely capturing and publishing customer videos, announces a new $1.5M round of funding. The round was led by Active Capital, a top tier seed firm for B2B SaaS companies outside of Silicon Valley, with other participants including Next Coast Ventures, eonCaptial, and angels from Utah, Texas, California, New York, and Brazil.

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