The Alliance

The Weekly Dose | 04.03.20

April 3, 2020 1:07 pm

We’ll just cut to the chase this week: we know you’re overloaded with data right now. If we can help you manage it or figure out what it means, let us know. If you need specific info for a story, or have questions, please email us


We will continue to provide information relevant to the pharmaceutical industry and the crisis we’re all trying to navigate right now. We look forward to working with you.



Patrick O’Connor – Executive Director

Rosemarie Calabro Tully – Communications Director




- A great story out of Illinois: @IllinoisBiotech is working with the state government and manufacturers to better supply medical providers with funding and supplies, including much needed #ventilators, to fight to #COVID19 pandemic. Click here to RT.  


- Take a look at this compilation from the @usccfoundation detailing the drug industry’s ongoing work to develop #vaccine and treatment options for the #COVID19 pandemic, and the business community’s larger philanthropic and relief efforts as well: Click here to RT.


- New hope for patients with #livercancer: @bmsnews has just received the FDA’s accelerated approval for a new #immunotherapy treatment option. Click here to RT.




Check out and share on Twitter our latest blog posts:


- Now Is No Time For Politics. Two weeks ago, an inside-the-Beltway magazine ran a headline that said “hell, yes” one of the major political parties should “politicize the coronavirus.” We respectfully disagree. There will be time for ideological arguments after the crisis has passed. (After all, this year is an election year.) But the John and Laura Arnold-funded Patients for Affordable Drugs is up to its old tricks, tossing around tired arguments that do not reflect the moment we’re living in. Click here to read the full blog post.


- Rallying Resources For COVID-19.S. industry—from manufacturers to the biopharmaceutical community—are working together to stem the tide of COVID-19, treat patients, and find cures. Learn exactly how. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.


- Jumping To Meet The Threat Of COVID-19. Our look from early March about how biopharmaceutical companies are working to quickly develop treatments or vaccines. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.




- Rallying To Help Frontline Workers. PhRMA writes, “In these unprecedented times, America’s biopharmaceutical companies are coming together to achieve one shared goal: to combat COVID-19, a disease caused by a novel strain of coronavirus.” Drug companies are working around the clock to research and develop new vaccines and treatments, but they also are contributing to help frontline workers as well. Click here to read more.


- Johnson & Johnson Testing On COVID-19 Vaccine Could Begin In September. CNN reports that Johnson & Johnson expects to begin testing its experimental COVID-19 vaccine on humans by September and is working with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to make the vaccine available for emergency use authorization by early 2021. The company and the federal government have committed $1 billion to the effort, and Johnson & Johnson has expanded its global manufacturing capacity so it can expedite production if the vaccine is approved.


- BIO: Fostering Collaboration To Eradicate COVID-19. Last week, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) hosted a virtual summit intended to foster collaboration among key government agencies and biopharmaceutical innovators with one goal: eradicating COVID-19. Federal government officials coordinating the nation’s COVID-19 response joined the event. BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood said the goal is to “minimize redundancies and maximize cooperation and collaboration.” Click here to learn more.


- Old Drugs, New COVID-19 Uses? The New York Times reports: “The malaria drug hydroxychloroquine helped to speed the recovery of a small number of patients who were mildly ill from the coronavirus, doctors in China reported this week. Cough, fever and pneumonia went away faster, and the disease seemed less likely to turn severe in people who received hydroxychloroquine than in a comparison group not given the drug.” TIME, meanwhile, looks at how a drug developed for ebola could be used to battle coronavirus.


- PBMs And Pricing In The Time Of Pandemic. A startling op-ed from PennLive asks: “What are PBMs doing? At a time when independent pharmacists are going above and beyond the already superior service we provide, PBMs are slashing our reimbursements to line their own pockets. Their dramatic cuts in reimbursements are nothing less than a form of price gouging at a time when we should all be pulling together to fight this pandemic.”


- What Happens When There Are No Patents? Citizens Against Government Waste reminds its readers by highlighting a piece by European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations Director General Nathalie Moll entitled “Would the Last Pharmaceutical Investor in Europe Please Turn the Lights Out.” Moll writes: “The sobering reality is that Europe has lost its place as the world’s leading driver of medical innovation. Today, 47 percent of global new treatments are of U.S. origin compared to just 25 percent emanating from Europe (2014-18). It represents a complete reversal of the situation just 25 years ago.’”


- New Hope For Patients Facing Heart Failure. STAT News reports: “An experimental drug from Merck and Bayer cut hospitalizations for heart failure by 10 percent in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented virtually by the American College of Cardiology. … ‘I think we need to sit back and acknowledge that we have another win in the treatment of heart failure,’ Clyde Yancy, chief of cardiology at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said on the ACC’s webcast, speaking about the drug, vericiguat.”




In a letter to the editor in Iowa’s Globe Gazette, Gerald Edgar, a former member of the state’s medical board, writes:


“[T]he recent coronavirus pandemic has also reminded me of how fortunate we are to have a diverse private biopharmaceutical industry in the U.S. who lead the charge to develop a treatment. Despite our only having 6 percent of the world's population, the majority of new drugs are developed in America and for that we can all be thankful.

Further, the current coronavirus pandemic has clearly highlighted why our elected leaders in Washington should reconsider instituting government price controls because of the potential reduction in pharmaceutical R&D. Although the intent of price controls may be noble – driving down costs for patients – the fact that price controls will ultimately make it harder for researchers to create new medicines makes any proposal grounded solely in price controls an unacceptable solution. There needs to be a reasonable balance between drug prices and R&D.”