The Alliance

The Weekly Dose | 05.03.19

May 6, 2019 3:30 pm

Laura Arnold and her husband fund many groups pushing drug-pricing legislation and regulation inside the Beltway and in the states. This week, she launched a podcast. Arnold didn’t break news, but instead repeated the couples’ long-held claims against pharmaceutical companies. We tackle those arguments here.


Meanwhile, at a summit in Las Vegas this week, one presenter reminded listeners there currently are more than 700 new therapies in development to treat people with cancer. We also learned a new study shows antiretroviral treatment for HIV prevents the spread of the disease and, as we watched headlines about the measles outbreak, we recalled that once incurable diseases would still run rampant without drug innovation.   


This is the innovation we must protect. 


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Patrick O’Connor – Executive Director

Rosemarie Calabro Tully – Communications Director




 The @US_FDA approved 56 new medicines in 2017 that included advanced treatments for multiple sclerosis, #sicklecell disease and rare forms of blood #cancer. How is biopharmaceutical #innovation saving lives? Read here: #DrugPrices Click here to RT.

.@politico’s @SarahKarlin reports that @ScottGottliebMD "criticized government-controlled [#DrugPrices]" at the #WHCC19. He's not alone. ~2,000 other organizations & individuals have voiced concerns on the dangerous implications of an #IPI. Read more: Click here to RT.

.@CongressmanRuiz: “#StepTherapy often doesn't take into account a #patient's medical history, such as if they've already tried a #drug, and found it ineffective, on a different insurance plan.” Tune in to the @EnergyCommerce #DrugPricing hearing here: Click here to RT.



The Arnolds Start a Podcast … And Get A Lot Wrong. Billionaires John and Laura Arnold have been busy this week. Not only did Patients for Affordable Drugs, an Arnold-funded group, hold a briefing on Capitol Hill, but Laura Arnold also launched a podcast where she and her guest, David Mitchell from Patients for Affordable Drugs, ran through almost all the couple’s favorite talking points. We’ve addressed most of these arguments in previous posts, and will do so again in a new blog post. Read the full blog post here.

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

 - Arnolds’ Funding Research Outcomes in States

 - Arnold-Funded Group Wrong On IPI Proposal

 - IPI Comments Running 1000:1 Against



Drug Importation Won’t Cut Costs, Will Harm Patients. In a column at Forbes, Sally Pipes, president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, argues, “Importing drugs from abroad will provide meager savings—if it provides any at all. And it could jeopardize patient safety by dramatically increasing the risk of counterfeit drugs entering the U.S. supply chain.” In an op-ed in the Denver Post, Former FBI Director Louis Freeh also discusses the threats posed by drug importation.

At Least 700 New Cancer Therapies Are In Development. The American Journal of Managed Care notes, “The oncology drug pipeline has experienced rapid growth over the past decade, driven by innovation in cell therapies, immunotherapy, and precision medicine.” Indeed, according to CURE – Cancer Updates, Research and Education, “There are currently greater than 700 new therapies in development for people with cancer, representing a trend that is being driven by increased innovation.”

America The Innovator: U.S. Responsible For More Drug Innovation Than Rest Of The World Combined. According to Peter J. Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, “The United States is the world’s leading pharmaceutical innovator. Between 2001 and 2010, according to one major study, U.S.-headquartered companies were responsible for 111 of the 194 ‘new chemical entities’ produced worldwide — more, that is, than all other countries combined.”

New Hope For Children With Lupus. The Food and Drug Administration announced this week that it has approved the first drug aimed at helping children suffering from lupus. The FDA noted that while lupus in children is rare, “it is generally more active in children and adolescents than adult patients, particularly in how it impacts organs such as the kidneys and central nervous system.”

Merck Meeting Increased Demand For Measles Vaccine. A good reminder that, without innovation, once-incurable diseases would still run rampant: Reuters reports Merck is confident it can meet demand for its measles vaccine as desire for the drug increases. (Related: Buzzfeed asked all 2020 presidential candidates what they think of vaccines.)

Insurer Profits Depend On Drug Manufacturer Rebates. Axios reports the Trump administration’s plan to ensure drug manufacturer rebates go to patients would “shift billions” away from the nation’s three largest health insurers, CVS Health, Humana and UnitedHealth Group. Meanwhile, a new report from Michigan outlines how pharmacy benefit managers profit from drug rebates while the state Medicaid system suffers.

Antiretroviral Therapy Helps Prevent Spread Of HIV. STAT News reported a new study of HIV antiretroviral therapy shows that treatment can prevent the spread of HIV. Click here to read the study, which was published in The Lancet.



Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) Chief Counsel Glenn Lammi and WLF Litigation Counsel Corbin Barthold explain why Washington’s drug-pricing prescriptions, including the International Pricing Index Model, might do more harm than good:

“Overpriced. Excessive. Escalating. Gouging. Politicians and talking heads of every political stripe utter such words about the cost of prescription drugs with alarming regularity. Something must be done, they proclaim. But the purported problem is being considered, as so many are in Washington, in a vacuum, with little understanding of a profoundly complex pharmaceutical marketplace. Poorly informed and in a rush to act, regulators and elected officials are proposing cures that not only flout legal and constitutional requirements and protections, but also imperil biomedical progress and the Americans who benefit from it.”



Tuesday, May 7 – 10:00am: Senate Judiciary Full Committee Hearing

Location: 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Topic: “Intellectual Property and the Price of Prescription Drugs: Balancing Innovation and Competition”

Witnesses: TBA

Contact: 202-224-5225



Thursday, May 9 – 10:00am: House Energy and Commerce (Subcommittee on Health) Hearing

Location: 2322 Rayburn House Office Building

Topic: “Lowering Prescription Drug Prices: Deconstructing the Drug Supply Chain”

Witnesses: TBA

Contact: 202-225-3641



Thursday, May 9, 2019, 7 p.m.: NPC Headliners with Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb

Location: The National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor

Topic: NPC Headliners Luncheon with Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb

Agenda: Gottlieb will discuss his tenure at the agency, focusing on how he moved his agenda thorough the agency and where he believes FDA should turn its attention in the future.

Contact: Lindsay Underwood, (202) 662-7561,