- In early October, Ascension Health banned Genentech reps after the biotech company changed its distribution model for top-selling cancer drugs Avastin, Herceptin, and Rituxan. Under Genentech's changes, the drugs are only available through six specialty dealers.
- Now, a group of 10 major academic centers have joined forces to complain to Congress about the move, citing the increased costs—tens of millions of dollars—associated with having to carry inventory in order to hedge against supply disruptions.
- The letter also asserts that the changes will force the centers to offset much-needed funds from investments in research, programs, and technology.
Not only is Genetech facing restriction from the 1,900 Ascension hospitals nationwide, but now 10 other major medical centers have piled on, including Boston-based Partners Healthcare, Mt. Sinai Medical Center in NYC, Ohio State University Medical Center, and others.
Genentech claims that it was necessary to winnow distributors from around 80 to a handful of specialty companies in order to improve distribution management, and to ensure supply when there are manufacturing challenges or other factors that might threaten development.