- According to a new survey, Genentech's controversial new distribution policy, which relies on specialty distributors instead of wholesalers, has increased the price of Avastin, Rituxan, and Herceptin—and negatively affected cancer patients, the WSJ's Ed Silverman reports.
- Overall, 81% of respondents said that switching away from a broad network of wholesale distributors to a handful of specialty distributors has had a moderate-to-significant impact on their expenses. Meanwhile, 63% said deliveries have been unreliable and 88% reported a delay in patient treatment because a medication was unavailable.
- In response, Genentech has said that there have only been problems at three hospitals and medical institutions.
Last fall, Genentech set off a firestorm when it sent a memo to all of the hospital systems it served saying that, effective October 1, Avastin (bevacizumab), Herceptin (trastuzumab), and Rituxan (rituximab) would only be available through six specialty distributors.
In fact, one company, Ascension Health, immediately banned Genentech reps from its 130-hospital system and said that the new policy would cost an extra $500,000 in supply-chain costs. Then, 10 other major medical centers requested that Congress look into the matter.
Several months later, a survey is showing the negative impact that Genentech's policy is having on hospital systems and their patients. So far, efforts to exert pressure against Genentech's policy have not changed the situation, but the pressure is mounting—and eventually, there will be biosimilar options for drugs like Avastin.