Business briefs: Boehringer Ingelheim, Teva, Medicare

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A recent Pradaxa study held both good news and bad news for the Boehringer Ingelheim. The good news, as noted by MedPage Today, is that 110mg and 150mg doses of the medication had a clinical benefit compared with warfarin in atrial fibrillation patients. Researchers said the two doses were linked to reducing the number of ischemic strokes by about one compared to warfarin. The bad news: FDA has only approved the 150mg dose.

The Plan B access fight may be over, but the New York Times notes the decision is not expected to have a significant impact on Teva's sales, which the Times reported were around $93 million last year. FDA allowed the drug maker to sell the one-pill version to anyone 15 and older, a restriction that ran into legal problems when a presiding judge indicated that the age limit restricted access because not everyone that age could be expected to have proof-of-age identification.

Researchers have found that all medications are equal in government programs and that Medicare diabetes patients are two-to-three times more likely to receive brand-name medications than patients in the VA healthcare system, reports Medical News Today. The study was funded by the Veterans Association, National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and included data for more than 1 million Medicare patients and 500,000 veterans. “Our study shows that we can make a big dent in Medicare spending simply by changing the kinds of medications people are using—and physicians are prescribing,” the lead author told Medical News, which notes Medicare works with more than 1,000 payers, while the VA uses a single formulary.
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