Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Pfizer CEO Ian Read's Worn-out Argument Against Hillary Clinton's Plan to Curb Drug Prices

Pfizer CEO Ian Read's Worn-out Argument Against Hillary Clinton's Plan to Curb Drug Prices | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Pfizer Inc's chief executive on Thursday said recent proposals by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to curb "unjustified" US drug prices would dampen investment in innovative new drugs and ultimately hurt consumers.

"(They) would be very negative for innovation," Ian Read said in webcast from the annual Wells Fargo healthcare conference in Boston. He said Clinton's proposals, if ever approved, would ultimately lead to a one-payer government system of price controls on prescription medicines.

Critics of the pharmaceutical industry have long argued that drugmakers unfairly raise prices at will, making their products increasingly less accessible to patients. Drugmakers counter that it can cost $1 billion dollars or more to develop the typical drug and say they need to be reimbursed for the costs and risk-taking.

Read said he did not believe price controls like those seen in Europe would occur in the United States.

"A lot depends on the composition of the Senate and House," he added, referring to whether Republicans continue to dominate at least one branch of Congress and can be a counterweight to a potential Clinton White House.

Clinton last week said that if elected to the White House she would create an oversight panel to protect US consumers from large price hikes on long-available, lifesaving drugs and to import alternative treatments if necessary, adding to her pledges to rein in overall drug prices.

She said the oversight panel would be able to levy fines and impose penalties on manufacturers when there has been an unjustified "outlier" price increase on a long-available or generic drug, meaning an especially high increase.

Pharma Guy's insight:

It will stifle innovation, it will stifle innovation, it will stifle innovation.. how many times have we heard that tiresome, worn-out argument from pharma CEOs?


Also read “#Pharma CEOs Fill in the Drug Pricing Debate ‘Gaps’”;


“What’s sad is this,” Read insists. “When you look at the totality of the health care system, everybody says, ‘Oh, my God, we can’t afford what we’re spending on health care.’ But nobody looks on the other side of the ledger.”


“I understand the physicians saying, ‘Look, these prices are too high,’ ” Read says. But according to Read, these physicians -- to use an old Scottish phrase -- are talking' pish! “It’s because their patients can’t get access. That is an insurance issue,” says Read.


Read insists drug companies don’t make undue profits. He points out that, in terms of return on capital or return on assets, pharma is just average. 

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When It Comes to Alzheimer's Disease Research Trump is a Black Box, Hilary an Open Book

When It Comes to Alzheimer's Disease Research Trump is a Black Box, Hilary an Open Book | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

When Hillary Clinton announced in December that she wanted a big increase in Alzheimer’s research, she did it in typical Clinton fashion — with a major speech and a six-point plan, led by a specific commitment of $2 billion a year in federal funds to find a cure by 2025.


When Donald Trump announced his own support for Alzheimer’s research last summer, he did it because someone asked him a question at a town hall. And his response was typical Trump. He assured the New Hampshire audience that Alzheimer’s was a “total top priority” for him — a bold promise with no specifics and no follow-up.


These are the two paths that US medical research could take now that the lineup for the November presidential election is settled. The fate of the Obama administration’s significant investments in biomedical research will end up in the hands of either a candidate with a long, wonky track record on health and medicine — with mixed results — or the candidate whose views are an almost complete mystery.


Clinton “really knows what’s going on and is a policy wonk on medical research as well as health care,” said Mary Woolley, president of Research!America, a coalition of groups that promote medical research. Trump, however, has such an “in the moment” approach to medical research — almost never raising the issue unless someone asks him about it — that it will be impossible to know what he’d do until people ask him more questions, she said.


Paul Offit, the chief of the division of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, puts the choice in more stark terms.


“I think it is fair to say that Donald Trump is a black box. He says one thing one day and the opposite the next,” Offit said. “So he certainly scares me far more than Hillary Clinton, who has generally supported public health.”

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Stronger Together, Pharma & Health Insurer Pay for Snoop Dogg To Perform At the DNC

Stronger Together, Pharma & Health Insurer Pay for Snoop Dogg To Perform At the DNC | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

When celebrities, high-level party operatives and the blue blazer-and-khaki crowd of staffers and journalists join together for the highly publicized Snoop Dogg concert immediately following presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, they’ll be doing so thanks to funding from two of the biggest lobbying forces in Washington.

Through a fundraising committee called Unity Convention 2016, three super PACs are organizing the Snoop Dogg Unity event and a concert with the band Los Lobos. So far, the two biggest donors for the events are the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the lobbying arm of the drug industry, and Anthem, Inc., a major health insurer.

PhRMA and Anthem each contributed $50,000 to the committee, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission.

Unity Convention 2016 raises money for Priorities USA Action, the super PAC backing Clinton’s presidential campaign; Senate Majority PAC, which supports Democratic Senate candidates and is closely tied to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid; and House Majority PAC, which is close to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and is tasked with electing Democrats to the House.

Each of these super PACs contributed $10,000 to help cover the cost of their convention events. 

PhRMA and Anthem are major lobbying forces in Washington with significant policy interests that will arise in the next administration and Congress. PhRMA and Blue Cross Blue Shield, of which Anthem is a member, are perennially two of the top 10 lobbying groups that spend the most, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Super PACs and dark money nonprofits are closely connected to donors with important lobbying interests, The Huffington Post has previously reported. 

PhRMA was the key player in the Washington influence industry to help the Obama administration push the Affordable Care Act through Congress. The lobbying group made a behind-the-scenes agreement to support the legislation as long at it did not include long-standing Democratic Party policies allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices for seniors or allow cheaper drugs to be imported from Canada and other countries.

A draft of the 2016 Democratic Party platform, however, calls for Medicare to negotiate drug prices and allows for such drug importation. In addition, the platform calls for capping the price of prescription drugs, including how much Americans pay out-of-pocket for drugs, as well as expanding community health centers that can obtain cheaper drugs and increasing how quickly generics reach the market.

Pharma Guy's insight:

I thought pharma and health insurers blamed each other for high drug prices and at least one industry lobby group contends that insurers have been throwing the pharma and biotech industry under the bus. For more on that, read “Former Washington Pol, Now CEO of BIO, Says Insurers Discriminate Against #Pharma”;


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On Marijuana, Hillary Clinton Sides with Big Pharma Over Young Voters

On Marijuana, Hillary Clinton Sides with Big Pharma Over Young Voters | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

As her lead in the polls continues to dwindleHillary Clintonis trying her best to appeal to young voters, who favor her main opponent, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Clinton goes to ridiculous lengths in her attempts to woo young people into supporting her campaign: she’s whipped and nae-naed on Ellen, dubbed herself Chillary Clinton, and even asked college students to describe how they felt about their student debt “in three emojis or less.”

Although it seems that she’ll do anything to get their votes, there’s one thing Hillary Clinton won’t do: champion the issues that young voters care about.

While 77% of young Democrats believe marijuana should be legal, Hillary Clinton is unwilling to support meaningful marijuana reforms. She’s opposed decriminalizing marijuana during her previous presidential run and has given little indication that she changed her position on the issue since. Today, Clinton will only go so far as to support the rescheduling of marijuana to Schedule II, giving it the same legal status as cocaine and methamphetamine.

It’s unlikely that Clinton’s reluctance to embrace marijuana law reform will help her gain popularity among young voters. But her positions on this issue are certainly in line with the interests of a key ally of hers: Big Pharma.

Despite naming the pharmaceutical industry as one of her greatest “enemies,” Hillary Clinton has received more money from drug companies than any other candidate this cycle. Pharmaceutical manufacturers donated more than $340,000 for her 2008 presidential bid – and in just the first six months of her 2016 campaign, Clinton has received over $160,000 from drug companies. To top it off, Big Pharma giants Pfizer and Proctor & Gamble each have donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation. And that’s likely just the tip of the iceberg, as Clinton enjoys the support of numerous Super PACs whose finances are notoriously obscure.

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