July 01, 2005

Eli Lilly Won't Lower Prices

Eli Lilly Won't Lower Prices For Medicaid

Recently, there has been much debate over Florida's decision to restrict drugs for Medicaid patients (our past story). At the center of this issue is Eli Lilly, the producer of "Zyprexa, the most commonly prescribed drug for schizophrenia and acute bipolar disorder." It seems that Eli Lilly is unwilling to negotiate with the state to lower its prices:

"Lilly has refused to negotiate with the state altogether. They are the only [one] of 219 brand-name manufacturers that did not respond to the state's bid request," Jonathan Burns, spokesman for the Agency for Health Care Administration, wrote in an e-mail to The Tampa Tribune. "Lilly's drugs, therefore, will not be on the [preferred drug list], but will still be available through the prior authorization process."
The prior authorization process, which will apply to the Eli Lilly drugs by mid-July, requires that patients first try one of the less expensive drugs (those on the preferred drug list) once a year before becoming eligible for their doctors to seek approval for more expensive medication.

And though many mental health advocates are speaking out against Florida's new policy, stating "that a temporary disruption in medication could cost their clients jobs and possibly result in costly stays in mental hospitals;" Eli Lilly's tactics still seem awful. Alan Levine, The Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary, even described Eli Lilly's unwillingness to lower prices as a "reprehensible strategy for protecting exorbitant prices."

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