The Alliance

The Weekly Dose | 07.12.19

July 12, 2019 2:21 pm

This week on Twitter (before the platform went down for a few hours), the Arnold-funded Patients for Affordable Drugs attacked individuals in the pharmaceutical industry for acknowledging operations might move to another state if the commonwealth of Massachusetts enacts new regulations on drug prices.


These attacks are personal and do little to help patients access and afford life-saving new medications. Policy has consequences. Ignoring that fact will lead the country down a path where fewer drugs are available and where there is less innovation, particularly when it comes to treatments for rare diseases. We explore these consequences below, but 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




Patrick O’Connor’s recent Inside Sources op-ed appeared at the Odessa American on June 30.



The US is not only home of the brave, it is home to thousands of scientists, doctors & others in biotechnology who have devoted their careers to discovering the next breakthrough treatment for diseases like #cancer or #sicklecell. … #FourthofJuly #DrugPrices Click here to RT.

.@jackiecavnar of @MentalHealthAm MidSouth explains how an #IPI #DrugPricing model could harm individuals struggling with #mentalhealth issues. Read more here via @Tennessean: Click here to RT.

Whether it’s at the discovery, development, or manufacturing stage of the #innovation process, the private sector makes the largest research and development contributions to lifesaving new #drugs--about 60% of all industry funding. #DrugPricing Click here to RT.



Check out and share on Twitter our latest blog posts:

With Rebate Rule Gone, Patients Will Suffer. According to Axios, the Trump administration has killed a draft regulation that would have ensured that the millions of dollars in rebates that drug manufacturers provide to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) via Medicare are passed on to consumers. Axios called the news “very good news for insurers and PBMs.” It obviously is not good news for patients. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.

Most Favored Nation: Fewer Jobs, Less Innovation. In a session last Friday with reporters, President Donald Trump floated the idea of signing an executive order creating a “favored nation” clause for drugs sold to the U.S. government. Such an order reportedly would require medications be sold to the federal government at the lowest price found across the globe. We explore how the proposal would affect innovation and employment. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.

IPI, ICER Assessments Harm Patients. Two new studies issued in the last two weeks, one from the Pioneer Institute and one from the American Consumer Institute’s (ACI) Center for Citizen Research, outline the ill effects of drug-pricing proposals being discussed in state capitals and in Washington, D.C. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.



Something To Consider When Determining The “Value” Of Medications. Disease strikes an enormous personal toll, of course, on individuals and families, but it also affects the American economy. STAT News reports, “Cancer deaths in 2015, the most recent year for which certain data were available, collectively cut short 8.7 million years of life, a loss that translated to $94.4 billion in lost earnings, the study found.”

AAF: Binding Arbitration Would “Stifle Drug Innovation.” The American Action Forum’s Christopher Holt writes, “Policymakers are considering arbitration as a potential solution to the challenge of high drug prices, although details remain ambiguous. Arbitration would represent a stark departure from the federal government’s traditional posture toward pricing and markets, and it could stifle drug innovation and impede access to treatment.”

Countries With Price Controls Would Benefit From Lifting Them. Writing at Morning Consult, Liam Sigaud from the American Consumer Institute, explains “An analysis last year found that if other advanced countries lifted their pharmaceutical price controls and allowed market forces to set drug prices, ‘the number of new treatments available would increase by 9%-12% by 2030 (equivalent to 8-13 new drugs in that year). For an individual aged 15-years-old today, lifting government price controls would increase life expectancy by approximately 0.8 to 1.6 years.’”

MA Health Policy Commission Director Doubts Value Of Pharmacy Benefit Managers. In a report on WBUR Radio, Massachusetts Health Policy Commission Director David Seltz explains pharmacy benefit managers add “more costs to the system, [and] can actually increase the price of the drugs when they get to [a] retail pharmacy … And it is not entirely clear what exactly the benefit and value that they're providing [is] in terms of keeping overall costs down.”

Another State Looking Into Pharmacy Benefit Managers. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the state of Minnesota is beginning to examine reforms aimed at how pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) work. The newspaper notes, “PBMs are the middlemen that negotiate the prices that health plans pay drug manufacturers — deals that often involve rebates or administrative fees. But consumers, regulators, and even some health plans don’t know how much the PBM keeps for itself.”

Drug Trial For Hemophilia Treatment Shows Promise. STAT News reports, “Pfizer Inc. and Sangamo Therapeutics Inc.’s one-time treatment for hemophilia A showed promising results in a 10-patient trial, enhancing the production of a protein that is critical for forming blood clots, according to new data. It's too early to draw complete conclusions, as the study is ongoing, but the drugmakers said the early results mean the drug could compete with advanced treatments for the bleeding disorder from BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. and Spark Therapeutics Inc.”



The American Enterprise Institute’s Kirsten Axelsen explains why the United States should not impose other countries drug pricing schemes:

“Because other countries pay less than the US for drugs, hospitalization, and physician services, America subsidizes innovation and research investment for the rest of the world. If the US weren’t such a big and profitable market, consumers wouldn’t get the same access to therapeutic advancements. While it may feel unfair, it is the reality. Other countries can’t be ‘forced’ to pay their fair share, and many have shown they are willing to deny care when prices are too high.”



July 22, 2019, 2 p.m.: The Brookings Institution

Location: Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.

Topic: Louisiana’s prescription drug experiment: A model for the nation?

Agenda: The Louisiana Department of Health has recently introduced a novel “subscription” model under which Asegua Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Gilead Sciences, will supply, for a negotiated sum, enough hepatitis C drugs to cure virtually all incarcerated and Medicaid patients suffering from hepatitis C in Louisiana over the next five years. This event will discuss the Louisiana experiment as well as other novel approaches to increasing prescription drug affordability. Featured speakers include Louisiana Secretary of Health Rebekah Gee and Wendell Primus, senior advisor to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, whose office is currently working on legislation to lower prescription drug prices.