The Alliance

The Weekly Dose | 03.08.19

March 8, 2019 11:00 am

Thirty years ago in July 1989, a New York Times headline read, “AIDS Legacy: a Growing Generation of Orphans.” This week a Times headline reported, “H.I.V. Is Reported Cured in a Second Patient, a Milestone in the Global AIDS Epidemic.” Then yesterday news broke that new HIV shots “worked as well as daily pills to control the virus that causes AIDS in two large international tests.” Cures don’t come about overnight, but with sustained investment – and public policy that ensures that investment is possible – we eventually can find them.


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Patrick O’Connor – Executive Director

Rosemarie Calabro Tully – Communications Director



The Reading Eagle published a letter to the editor by APMI Executive Director Patrick O’Connor urging lawmakers to consider the consequences of drug pricing legislation.



 - March 7: “We need to be VERY CAREFUL that the government doesn’t ... say a single formulary is the answer. That’s not consumer-friendly, economically-friendly or scientifically-friendly, and certainly I don't think it encourages more #innovation." -@RepAdrianSmith #drugprices #drugpricing

 - March 6: This is another case of @P4AD_, @DavidP4AD and @benwakana blurring the lines between fact and fiction to push for policies patient groups largely reject.

 - March 6: “In an @AP interview, @JNJInnovation's Dr. William Hait discusses his motivations for pursuing pharmaceutical work: to save #patient lives. “If we could get to a point where fewer people die of lung #cancer or myeloma, that’s a huge reward. It will happen.”



 Addressing Common Myths About Private Sector R&D. In hearings over the last two months, lawmakers have asked questions about research and development (R&D) – how much is funded by the private sector, by taxpayers or by colleges and universities, and how drug company R&D compares to earnings. Any way you slice the data, it’s clear drug company investments in R&D are important – and significant. Read the full blog post here.

In case you missed them, here are some other recent posts on the APMI blog:

- SOTU: Two Proposals In Tension

- Private Sector Drives Drug Research

- Drug-Pricing Proposals Should Worry Patients Looking for a Cure



Americans Want To Know The Consequences Of Regulation. CNBC highlights a new survey that found Americans are wary of how Washington policy could affect drug innovation. For example, “Support for price negotiation dropped from 86 percent to just 31 percent if government price negotiations could hurt research and development. Support dropped just as sharply when presented with the argument that it could lead to Medicare not covering some prescription drugs.”

Harvard Medical School Scholar Worried About The IPI. The American Journal of Managed Care has published an interview with Dr. Michael E. Chernew, director of the Healthcare Markets and Regulation Lab in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, who argues that, while the Trump administration’s proposed International Pricing Index might lower drug prices “a little,” it would come with a number of unintended consequences.

PA Auditor General No Fan Of PBMs. Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale took aim at pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) last week. According to KDKA in Pittsburgh, DePasquale said PBM “rebates never reach the hands or the wallets of consumers or the independent community pharmacies that fill their prescriptions. … The rebate system artificially raises the cost of those drugs by up to 30 percent.” The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

New Treatment Potential For People Living With HIV. STAT News reported “monthly shots of HIV drugs worked as well as daily pills to control the virus that causes AIDS in two large international tests. … If approved by regulators in the United States and Europe, the shots would be a new option for people with HIV and could help some stay on treatment. Instead of having to remember to take pills, patients instead could get injections from a doctor or nurse each month.” Meanwhile, The New York Times reported a second patient with HIV apparently has been cured.



Nestled in a New York Times story about biotech company acquisition, we found this telling admission:

“Major drug makers are in a race to find their next blockbuster. As the complexity of drugs has increased, though, so has the cost to develop them.”



Wednesday, March 13, 10 a.m. ET: House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing

Location: John D. Dingell Room, 2123 Rayburn House Office Building

Topic: “Lowering the Cost of Prescription Drugs: Reducing Barriers to Market Competition”

Agenda: Not yet available

Contact: (202) 225-2927