Back in September 2016, Novum Pharma made headlines when it raised the price of Aloquin, a barely-effective acne cream from $240/tube to $10,000/tube, after acquiring the exclusive right to manufacture it.
Now, Novum is bankrupt, a fact it attributes to the price hike leading to "public scrutiny regarding [Novum’s] business model and further increased prescription rejection rates."
While this is reason to cheer, don't get too happy. As Beth Mole points out at Ars Technica: "despite the public spotlight on drug pricing, more than three-dozen drug companies started 2019 with sweeping price increases on hundreds of drugs."
While the bankruptcy may seem like a victory in the battle to drag down soaring drug prices, Craig Garthwaite, director of healthcare at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, did not have such an optimistic view. “I think we’re seeing companies sensitive to announcing these price changes. I don’t think we’re seeing a wholesale change in behavior,” he told the Tribune.
Infamous pharma company declares bankruptcy after 3,900% price hike [Beth Mole/Ars Technica]
The public markets are hungry: as Uber and Lyft look to IPOs to let their investors -- who have been subsidizing 40-50% of every ride -- redeem their shares through sales to the public capital markets, the companies are desperate for ways to reduce their unprofitability and increase those share prices.
Pepsi's plan to pay a Russian company called Startrocket to loft an artificial constellation of cubesats with mylar sails to advertise a "nonalcoholic energy beverage" has been cancelled for unspecified reasons (the company says its prototype launch using high-altitude balloons was a "one-time event").
* whether they deserve one or not
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