The Alliance

The Weekly Dose | 04.10.20

April 10, 2020 9:55 am

In our blog post last week, we addressed Patients for Affordable Drugs’ political arguments about drug companies and COVID-19. While the John and Laura Arnold-funded group refuse to acknowledge the value of the industry’s work, others are speaking up.


STAT News , for example, recently interviewed Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, who said: “I’ve talked to all of the major manufacturers and they’re all really interested in helping. And I think you will see them play a very important role ultimately in the global response.” And APCO Worldwide conducted a survey examining Americans’ perceptions of the sector in the face of COVID-19. In RealClearPolitics, Jack Kalavritinos explained: “American people appear to increasingly recognize the critical value of a strong, capable, and innovative pharmaceutical industry working in concert with our government. And ultimately, with faster solutions, the faster we can defeat this scourge and claim victory over this national challenge.”


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Patrick O’Connor – Executive Director

Rosemarie Calabro Tully – Communications Director




- Amazing news for #HIV patients: @abbvie will waive restrictions on licenses for its Kaletra pill, allowing the drug to be produced generically for treatment anywhere in the world. Click here to RT.  


- Two parents of children with #cysticfibrosis write in the @NYPost: don't let the Arnolds' #ICER group devalue the worth of our children. Damaging QALY measures prevent patient access to care deemed too "costly," cutting off the future of disabled children. Click here to RT.


- We love this article from @Forbes: while this is an uncertain time, we can be sure that the pharmaceutical industry is putting in the work to fight the #COVID19 pandemic, from innovating new treatments to donating crucial supplies. 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. Share on Twitter here.


- 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 Find A Cure For COVID-19. STAT News reports Pfizer is about four months away from human trials with a potential treatment and is “working about three months ahead of the company’s self-imposed timeline.” The Wall Street Journal looks at Amgen’s efforts to create a treatment. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AbbVie is working with global health authorities on evaluating the potential of KALETRA/Aluvia. The company has supplied the drug as an experimental option for the treatment of COVID-19 to multiple countries that have immediate patient needs due to the outbreak. STAT News reports on Gilead’s efforts to produce a new treatment, and Celularity had received FDA approval for early trials of a new cell therapy. Meanwhile, according to Scientific American, human trials on one oral pill could begin soon.


- CNBC reports Moderna Inc., which is working with the National Institutes of Health on the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, may begin the next phase of human clinical trials this spring. According to STAT News, GlaxoSmithKline will invest a quarter of a billion dollars in Vir Biotechnology in order to create experimental treatments and potentially vaccines for COVID-19. The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, looks at several efforts by Sanofi to create a vaccine. Texas-based VGXI Inc. has announcedwhat would be a record-breaking timeline for manufacturing and release of a new DNA vaccine.


- Pharma Employees On The Front Lines. FiercePharma reports: “With thousands of medical employees at their fingertips, drugmakers are now turning their workforce against the virus. Merck & Co., Eli Lilly, and Pfizer have launched or expanded volunteer programs for their medically trained staff to help fight COVID-19, the companies said in a release.”


- About Health Care Industry Profits. The biopharmaceutical and medical device industries are working together to fight COVID-19. For example, Medtronichas released patents and Teva Pharmaceuticals and Novartis will donate hydroxychloroquine to COVID-19 patients who consent to receive therapy regimens that contain the drug.


- Hope For Patients With Advanced Breast Cancer? STAT News reports: “Immunomedics is stopping a Phase 3 clinical trial due to ‘compelling evidence of efficacy’ demonstrated in patients with advanced, triple-negative breast cancer. … The decision to halt the study involving the Immunomedics drug called sacituzumab govitecan comes months before final results were expected and was based on a unanimous recommendation of independent study monitors following a review of the data.”


- American Consumer Institute: Drug Boards Will Harm Patients. At PennLive, Oliver McPherson-Smith, and Steve Pociask from American Consumer Institute write: “While some states, including Pennsylvania, are trying to cap the price of prescription drugs, sometimes by creating so-called ‘affordability boards,’ their policies will only lead to greater shortages and threaten public health. Despite the good intentions behind these ‘affordability boards,’ a new report by my colleagues at the American Consumer Institute details how price controls will ultimately reduce consumer access to prescription drugs, most particularly low-cost, affordable generic drugs.”


- ICER Methodology Discriminates Against Senior Citizens. According to the Pioneer Institute, “The Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY) cost-effectiveness methodology employed most notably in the U.S. by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) and in the United Kingdom by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) represents an inherently discriminatory threat to senior citizens’ access to high-quality medicines.”




University of Law School Professor Daniel Hemel and Stanford Law School Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette in The New York Times:


“[T]o contain COVID-19 now and sustain a pipeline of drugs directed at other infections with pandemic potential, we will almost certainly need to enlist the capital and creativity of the private sector. We don’t need to compromise patient access, but we will need to promise profits to businesses that develop effective vaccines and treatments. Among all the costs that we as a society will bear because of this virus and later ones, the payout to pharmaceutical companies will be a rounding error.”


Former Democratic presidential candidate and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean:


“I would like to also say that I’m damn glad we have the best and most innovative pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries in the world.  As we try to figure out how to make drugs more affordable, let’s also think about how to maintain the incredible innovative capacity that has saved people on every continent from truly horrible deaths.”