The Alliance

The Weekly Dose | 05.29.20

May 29, 2020 11:04 am

A prominent banking CEO predicted this week that the U.S. economic recovery could be pretty “rapid.” With millions of Americans out of work, we hope he is right. We also know there are entire sectors—live music and sports, aviation, and some segments of hospitality—that simply will not be able to come back fully until there is a vaccine or a treatment. The same goes for our elderly family and neighbors. They, too, are depending on science to keep them healthy and secure in their own communities. 


Below you’ll find the latest on drug companies’ quest to make these discoveries sooner rather than later, while ensuring the safety of the American public. There is a lot riding on that work, so 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




- 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 Click here to RT.


- We strongly agree with this editorial from a @NationalCenter Senior Fellow in the Akron @beaconjournal: The Trump administration must not abandon an @HHSGov rule that would pass on $1,000 in yearly savings to seniors with #diabetes. Click here to RT.   


- Our top quote of the week, from @SallyPipes, in Michigan’s @pressandguide: We hope lawmakers “reconsider proposals that would cripple one of America's largest and most innovative industries — and leave #patients without the lifesaving drugs they need.” Click here to RT.  




Check out and share on Twitter our latest blog posts:


- Patient Advocates vs. John Arnold. John Arnold has showered at least $60 million “on researchers, patient advocates, and political groups” who are willing to carry his arguments to Congress, the media, and the public. A lot of people, particularly those who represent some of the nation’s most vulnerable patients, are not buying Arnold’s arguments, however, no matter how much he is willing to spend. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.


- What Do the Paycheck Protection Program and Antibiotic Resistance Tell Us About Drug Development? Government policies matter. Congress wields significant power, particularly in an economic downturn. What it does, and what it does not do, will have far-reaching consequences. Indeed, that is the message a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) reportsent to lawmakers. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.


- Arnolds’ $60 Million Fuels Push For Reference Pricing. We heard a lot about billionaires in the Feb. 19 Democratic presidential candidates’ debate. We take a look at the two billionaires who are behind the push to get the United States to peg drug prices to costs in other (less innovative) nations. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.




- Merck: If Approved, COVID-19 Vaccine Would Be “Accessible And Affordable” For All. CNBC reports that U.S. drugmaker Merck will work alongside nonprofit scientific research organization IAVI to develop a potential vaccine against the coronavirus. … Designed and engineered by IAVI scientists in New York, the vaccine candidate for COVID-19 is in preclinical development. Clinical studies are expected to start this year. If approved, Merck said both organizations would work together to develop the vaccine and “make it accessible and affordable” worldwide.


- Old Drug, Potential New Use For COVID-19 Patients. Pharmaceutical companies continue to innovate even after a treatment has hit the market. Take a look at what STAT News reported this week: “Many COVID-19 survivors will have long-term lung injuries. … PureTech Health, a biotech company in Boston, believes it might have a solution after making some chemical alterations to an older drug that has helped prevent scarring in a different lung disease. The reference treatment, pirfenidone, works by blocking the proteins that lead to fibrosis, but there’s evidence it can also tamp down inflammation. For COVID-19, where lung injury is caused by severe immune reactions, that could be a beneficial combination.”


- Developing Vaccines “Is Not Easy. Nor Is It Cheap.” In Morning Consult, David Kappos, former Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, writes: “Developing diagnostic tests and vaccines is not easy. Nor is it cheap. They cost upwards of $500 million to develop and can take 15 years to reach the market. To promote the costly and time-intensive development of diagnostics and vaccines in the U.S., adequate incentives are critical. Our country has long incentivized these societally beneficial innovations through patent protection — a government-provided right enabling innovators to recoup their investments and encouraging them to make further investments.”


- In Other COVID-19 Vaccine News... Forbes says Pfizer might be in the best position to have a vaccine by this fall. Bloomberg reports GlaxoSmithKline will produce 1 billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccine adjuvant that can reduce the amount of vaccine required per dose and create longer-lasting immunity against the pandemic next year. America’s Biopharmaceutical Companies also has the latest on vaccine research.


- The March Continues For A COVID-19 Treatment, Too. An article in The New England Journal of Medicine discusses the benefits of Gilead’s remdesivir, but is a reminder of how long it can take to find treatments and cures. Researchers conclude, “preliminary findings support the use of remdesivir for patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19 and require supplemental oxygen therapy,” but “given high mortality despite the use of remdesivir, it is clear that treatment with an antiviral drug alone is not likely to be sufficient.”




Wall Street Journal chief economics columnist Greg Ip:


“Not long ago, drug companies had a bull’s-eye on their ticker symbols. … COVID-19 has given drug companies a shot at redemption. They are pouring resources into therapies and vaccines, with the entire economy’s fate resting on their success. … The big question is whether COVID-19 proves to the public and politicians the merits of the current pricing system.”