publication date: Oct. 3, 2014

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By Paul Goldberg

A move by Genentech has eliminated discounts and rebates hospitals receive when they purchase three of the company’s top-selling infused cancer drugs.

Beginning Oct. 1, hospitals can now order Avastin (bevacizumab), Herceptin (trastuzumab) and Rituxan (rituximab) exclusively from six specialty distributors authorized by the drug maker.

Genentech said the move will bypass more than 80 full-line wholesale drug distribution centers, with the objective of enhancing efficiency and security of the supply chain for these widely used medications.

The switchover and the reactions it has triggered over the past two weeks offers an opportunity to observe the workings of the byzantine system of drug distribution in the U.S.

To America’s cancer centers and hospitals, Genentech’s move will mean the end of discounts and rebates hospitals received from wholesalers. At some institutions contacted by The Cancer Letter, rebates on these three drugs added up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The largest centers expect to lose millions.

According to the IMS Health National Sales Perspectives, in 2013, U.S. sales of Rituxan were $3.3 billion; Avastin made $2.7 billion; and Herceptin $1.9 billion. The prices are tracked on the wholesale level.

“Genentech is committed to patient safety, to protecting the integrity of our medicines as they move through the supply chain, and to ensuring patients and healthcare professionals are able to access its medicines when they need them,” the company said in … Continue reading 40-37 Avastin, Herceptin, Rituxan Now Sold Under Tighter Control by Drug Maker

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