The Alliance

The Weekly Dose | 03.06.20

March 6, 2020 12:28 pm

We stumbled upon this interesting letter to the editor in The Island Now, a local news site in New York state. In the letter, Great Neck resident Bertram Drachtman reminds readers that cancer survival rates are rising because new treatments are coming on to the market. He also explains:


“Drug companies must make significant profits on their best-selling drugs in one generation in order to reinvest in the next generation. A large portion of these ‘profits’ goes to three sources before they are available for distribution to shareholders. First, the revenues must cover the costs of the high number of failed research efforts, most of which generate no revenue. Second, they must pay for the long delays between initial research and product sales. These capital expenditures account for roughly half of the total costs of developing new drugs. Finally, a large portion of the remaining revenue goes into new research on the next generation of drugs.”


That’s an important reminder to federal lawmakers as they continue to contemplate drug-pricing legislation like the House’s H.R. 3.

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Patrick O’Connor – Executive Director

Rosemarie Calabro Tully – Communications Director




- .@DouglasESchoen warns candidates & lawmakers not to embrace the International Pricing Index, citing that ~96% of new #cancer medicines are made available in the US, while the 16 countries used in the IPI only have 55% of new cancer medicines. Via @Forbes: Click here to RT.   


- In comparison to #hospital spending, drug spending makes up just a small part of our #healthcare costs. Rather than punishing our #innovators with #pricecontrols, policymakers need to take a more holistic approach Click here to RT.


- Canada has a population 1/9 the size of the U.S. and is already suffering from severe drug shortages. #Drug #importation further reduces Canada's drug supply, threatens American #patients and provides us with negligible #healthcare savings. Via @business: Click here to RT.  




Check out and share on Twitter our latest blog posts:


- A Look Beyond 2020. The number of candidates in the race for the White House is narrowing. We take a look at what the incumbent president, and his potential challengers, have proposed when it comes to innovation and drug prices. Click here to read the full blog post.


- Arnolds’ $60 Million In Gasoline Fuels Push For Reference Pricing. We heard a lot about billionaires in the Feb. 19 Democratic presidential candidates’ debate. We take a look at the two billionaires who are behind the push to get the United States to peg drug prices to costs in other (less innovative) nations. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.


- A Conversation About QALY. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s discriminatory #QALY is gaining traction on Capitol Hill. While we've said it before, we'll say it again: the decision to save a life with medical #innovation is not one for a "little-known Boston nonprofit" to make. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.




- Dan Crenshaw: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Drug Bill Will Do More Harm Than Good. In an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle, Congressman Dan Crenshaw describes how drug innovations are helping to save lives. He also argues that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug-pricing legislation would slow the pace of innovation.


- How Pharmaceutical And Tech Companies Are Working Together To Discover New Treatment. In a column in Forbes, Robert Reiss explains, artificial intelligence “powered drug-discovery efforts are enabling big pharma and biotechnology companies to streamline R&D efforts, including calculating vast patient datasets into digestible, tangible information, identifying personalized / precision medicine opportunities or forecasting potential responses to new drugs.” This work “is creating and executing a new promise to cut drug costs and development time significantly.”


- There Are Reasons “No Administration, Republican Or Democrat, Has Ever Allowed Canadian Drug Importation.” Former Food and Drug Administration Associate Commissioner Peter J. Pitts reminds readers: “No administration, Republican or Democrat, has ever allowed Canadian drug importation – and for good reason. First, experts agree that such a scheme wouldn’t reduce by one penny the co-pay of a single American. Second, it would expose Americans to dangerous counterfeit medicines.”


- Drug Industry Mobilizes To Help Address Coronavirus Threat. STAT News provides a helpful look at how the drug industry has mobilized to address the coronavirus crisis. Reporter Damian Garde says: “In the months since the novel coronavirus rose from a regional crisis to a global threat, drugmakers large and small have scrambled to advance their best ideas for thwarting a pandemic. Some are repurposing old antivirals. Some are mobilizing tried-and-true technologies, and others are pressing forward with futuristic approaches to human medicine.” Additionally, The Wall Street Journal reports the first steps in launching clinical trials of Moderna Inc.'s COVID-19 vaccine are underway in Seattle. And there also is this from STAT News: Takeda has begun work on a plasma-derived therapy, a potential drug made by drawing blood from coronavirus survivors, harvesting the plasma, and then isolating the protective antibodies that kept those patients alive.


- More Hope For Myeloma Patients? According to STAT News, “Karyopharm Therapeutics (KPTI) said Monday that the primary goal was achieved in a clinical trial designed to broaden the use of its cancer drug Xpovio to treat a larger number of patients with multiple myeloma. Last July, the Food and Drug Administration approved Xpovio to treat patients with advanced multiple myeloma no longer responsive to at least four prior therapies. Based on results from the new clinical trial, Karyopharm intends to seek approval from the FDA to expand Xpovio’s label to treat so-called second-line multiple myeloma patients.”




Citizens Against Government Waste weighs in on Senate drug-pricing legislation:


“Price controls always cause shortages and distortions in the marketplace.  The result will be higher—not lower—prices, less patient access to new treatments, and millions of American jobs put at risk.  And America’s long-held leadership as the world’s foremost innovator and provider of medicines would be threatened.”