The Alliance

The Weekly Dose | 07.26.19

July 26, 2019 11:55 am

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee has advanced drug-pricing legislation to the chamber’s floor. While this bill has a handful of helpful elements, its overall effect would be to reduce innovation in the United States and to shift the cost burden onto American patients. The legislation reportedly would siphon more than $150 billion from research and development into new medicines. And, after the White House abandoned efforts to rein in pharmacy benefit manager profiteering, the legislation also does nothing to ensure benefits of the billions in rebates provided by the pharmaceutical industry go to patients.

 

Want to learn more about this bill, and other proposals, and their impact on innovation? Please email us. We look forward to working with you.

 

Best,

Patrick O’Connor – Executive Director

Rosemarie Calabro Tully – Communications Director

 

TWEETS OF THE WEEK

In response to @JohnArnold’s tweet, “Allow me to be a cynic for a minute…”: Allow us to be cynics then, too. Five of six panelists at an event you’re sponsoring this week received funding from you, and their connections to you aren't disclosed anywhere. Here’s what you’ve done to shape the debate on #drugpricing at @theNASEM event happening this week… Click here for thread and to RT.

According to @USCBO, “Pharmaceutical firms invest as much as five times more in research and development, relative to their sales, than the average U.S. manufacturing firm.” Learn more: https://protectmedicine.com/in_the_news/an-unbalanced-debate/ #DrugPricing #Innovation Click here to RT.

#ICYMI: Pharma companies spent $97 billion in R&D in 2017, w/$1 out of every $5 of revenue going towards dev. The result: a record 65 new medicines, the most by any nation. We need to lower health-care costs but can’t sacrifice #innovation in the process. https://yhoo.it/2Zd3IcX Click here to RT.

 

THE STORIES THAT DIDN’T GET ENOUGH ATTENTION

Check out and share on Twitter our latest blog posts:

Drug Importation: “Not Your Silver Bullet.” With an election of their own on the horizon, Canadian officials have begun to push back. According to Reuters, talking points developed by the country’s foreign ministry outline Canada’s “clear” opposition to the idea. The foreign ministry believes importation measures could exacerbate the already short supply of drugs in Canada, and could drive up prices there. We offer a few other reasons drug importation is a bad idea. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.

Most Favored Nation: Fewer Jobs, Less Innovation. Reuters reported this week that the White House is considering an executive order that even “would be much broader” that the most-favored nation executive order President Donald Trump floated earlier this month. Click here to read our blog post on a most-favored nation proposal. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.

What Is A PBM? If you need a quick refresher on what pharmacy benefit managers are, how they work and how they impact patients we’ve got you covered. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.

 

WHAT WE’RE READING

Beware European Price Controls. Ross Marchand advises U.S. policymakers to avoid implementing the type of price caps European regulators have placed on pharmaceutical products. Why? “Before Europe started tinkering with drug prices, the continent was the leader in medical innovation.” Now, nearly 40 percent of pharmacists cite heart medication shortages as a major issue.

Beware Binding Arbitration. In the Richmond Register, Former Food and Drug Administration Associate Commissioner Peter Pitts warns, “drugs. A proposal called ‘binding arbitration’ is being promoted by Speaker Pelosi's top advisors, who reportedly believe the Trump administration will be on board. Binding arbitration – essentially government price controls -- would be catastrophic for patients. It would undercut medical innovation and bar American patients from accessing innovative treatments.”

New Hope For Patients With HIV. STAT News reports “at an all-day meeting for investors last month in a posh Manhattan event space, executives at Merck couldn’t have been more excited about a new HIV drug, MK-8591. They mentioned it 25 times, calling it “a game changer” and talking up its “remarkable properties.” Why? If effective, it could be used in a new drug combination that might have fewer side effects, the company says. More excitingly, it might be fashioned into an implant that could be given only once a year to prevent patients at high risk from contracting HIV, a boon to public health.”

PBMs Reap Profits While Biotech Firms Innovate. Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) will continue to amass millions in undisclosed profits from rebates intended for patients while biotech companies continue to fund extensive research and development to discover life-changing medical innovations. Check out Business Insider for more on PBM profits.

 

QUOTATION OF THE WEEK

Good advice from intellectual law and policy expert Steven Tepp:

“It's no secret that health care can be expensive. And even though prescription drugs only make up around fifteen percent of health-care costs, drug costs are highly visible to patients. That makes them an easy target. But drastic approaches that undermine the innovation that has defined America since the beginning will do more harm than good. No matter how well intentioned the effort may be, this is the wrong way to go.”