Dr. Anthony S. Fauci confirmed this week that the federal government is working with the private sector to develop a coronavirus vaccine at “warp speed”—and will hopefully have it on the market by next January. “We’re going to start ramping up production with the companies involved and you do that at risk, in other words you don’t wait until you get an answer before you start manufacturing, you at risk, proactively, start making it, assuming it’s going to work,” Dr. Fauci said. “And if it does, then you can scale up and hopefully get to that timeline.”
We’re tracking fast-moving developments just like you. If you need more info for a story, or have questions, please email us. We look forward to working with you.
Patrick O’Connor – Executive Director
Rosemarie Calabro Tully – Communications Director
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
- #Vaccines are on everyone’s mind, especially in the fight against #COVID19. The good news is that, according to @PhRMA, some 258 are in development worldwide against diseases like cancer. Read more: https://onphr.ma/2WhTQyi Click here to RT.
- In @FortuneMagazine, the President and CEO of @SBECouncil talks about why #pricecontrols are a bad idea: innovative drug companies “need certainty, and a policy ecosystem that encourages risk taking and investment.” #DrugPrices #DrugPricing https://bit.ly/3bT7EG6 Click here to RT.
- This letter in the @PoconoRecord caught our attention: in it, a cancer patient advocates for the crucial #innovation and development work pharmaceutical companies do. “Without it, treatments for deadly diseases like cancer wouldn’t exist.” #DrugPricing https://bit.ly/2SmYlXw Click here to RT.
THE STORIES THAT DIDN’T GET ENOUGH ATTENTION
Check out and share on Twitter our latest blog posts:
- Myth-Busting Patients For Affordable Drugs. Patients for Affordable Drugs (P4AD) is at it again. In a recent post, the John and Laura Arnold-funded organization attacked companies that are working to develop vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. The P4AD post was filled with falsehoods, and we tackle three of them in a new post of our own. Click here to read the full blog post.
- Now Is No Time For Politics. 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.
- ICER To Parents: “That’s Why You Don’t Have A Vote.” In case you missed it, STAT News recently went inside the Arnold-funded Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s drug value decision-making process. What they found was disturbing, to say the least. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.
WHAT WE’RE READING
- Fauci: Gilead Results Are “Quite Good News” In Quest To Find COVID-19 Treatment. CNBC reports Gilead Science’s preliminary results from a coronavirus drug trial showed at least 50 percent of patients treated with a five-day dosage of remdesivir improved and more than half were discharged from the hospital within two weeks. White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said the announcement was “quite good news” and showed a “clear-cut positive effect in diminishing time to recover.” CNN, meanwhile, reports that a common heartburn medication might help treat COVID-19.
- Several Companies Working To Speed Up Timeline For COVID-19 Vaccine. According to The Wall Street Journal, Pfizer will start testing its potential COVID-19 vaccine as early as next week and that it could be ready for emergency use this fall. The Journal also reminds readers that Moderna Inc. is preparing to enter its vaccine into the second phase of human testing and Johnson & Johnson has “shaved months off the usual timelines for developing a vaccine, and expects to start human testing of a coronavirus candidate as soon as September, with possible availability on an emergency-use basis in early 2021.” Politico is tracking the development of several promising treatments and vaccines, as is STAT News.
- The Conversation Explains New Uses For Old Drugs. At The Conversation, Ayfer Ali, Assistant Professor of Strategy at Warwick Business School, explains, “Off-label prescribing can also play a key role in drug innovation. Physicians routinely try existing drugs for new diseases. In fact, over 50 percent of new off-label uses for existing drugs are estimated to be pioneered by physicians. These new uses are usually discovered by serendipity or through analogical reasoning – a doctor’s educated guess that a drug may work for conditions similar to the one it’s approved for. Recently, more complex tools using network theory and AI have been deployed to predict the potential usefulness of various drugs for COVID-19 repurposing.”
- New Drug Approved To Treat Ovarian Cancer. Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s ovarian cancer drug Zejula for use at an earlier stage of treatment. Bloomberg said the new will give “thousands more patients access to the therapy to help prevent their cancer from coming back.”
- Hope For Patients With Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer? According to STAT News, “An immunotherapy from the drug firms Regeneron and Sanofi extended survival in previously untreated patients with non-small cell lung cancer. ... [T]he companies said that in patients whose tumors had greater than 50 percent levels of PD-L1 — a diagnostic test used for all similar drugs — those taking Libtayo had a 32.4 percent decreased risk of death compared to those who received chemotherapy over the length of the study.” Reuters has more.
- Seniors Would Save Big If PBMs Were Forced To Pass On Rebates. In the Akron, Ohio Beacon Journal, National Center for Public Policy Research Senior Fellow Drew Johnson says a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed rule to require pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and insurers to pass along rebates to patients at the point of sale would save seniors with diabetes a whopping $1,000 a year, according to one analysis. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has abandoned the rule.
QUOTATION OF THE WEEK
In The Wall Street Journal, Hoover Institution Senior Fellows Scott W. Atlas and H.R. McMaster note:
“The U.S. is the world’s predominant source of pharmaceutical innovation, including new cancer drugs, next-generation biopharmaceuticals and tests that determine which patients will benefit from those drugs.”
UPCOMING EVENTS TO WATCH
Wednesday, May 6 @ 12 p.m. ET: R Street Institute
Topic: Innovation During COVID-19: From Vaccines to Open-Source Ventilators to Homemade Masks
Agenda: The COVID-19 pandemic has demanded tremendous, rapid innovation to solve a worldwide public health crisis on all scales, from global research and development into pharmaceutical treatments to individual families sewing masks at home. In this event, we’ll hear from experts in a variety of fields of innovation talking about the challenges and opportunities for innovation on vaccines, medicines, 3D printing, open-source ventilators, personal protective equipment and more, both for the present crisis and for the future.