The Alliance

The Weekly Dose | 09.06.19

September 6, 2019 10:15 am

Singapore’s The Business Times recently covered Pfizer’s innovation efforts and work to expand patient access in Singapore. The article featured Pfizer Singapore’s Enver Erkanm, who supports sales of the company’s pharmaceutical products in over 150 markets around the world. The Times said Erkan is driven by a “noble mission” – to provide access to medicines, “much earlier, much faster.” Erkan said, “No patient shall be denied access.”


What a world of difference from the debate in the United States. Next week, we’ll be watching as Congress returns to Washington to see what tones various Members of Congress—and the media—adopt when discussing health-care costs in America.


We hope you will take a look at the other articles featured below, especially those that features patients discussing the importance of innovation to their lives.


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



- Without strong #patent protection, “drug makers would lose the incentive to develop innovative #medicine.” Read why patient advocate Randall Rutta fears the effects of weakened patent protection on #drugdiscovery here, via @MfieldMail: Click here to RT.

- “Creating a drug is the longest, riskiest, and most expensive product development process on the planet,” Dr. Rosenblatt writes in @BostonGlobe. Price caps won’t hasten #drug development, but they will weaken economic incentives and hamper #innovation. Click here to RT.

- The 2020 candidates need to look at all players in the #healthcare debate. #Hospitals are now “by far the biggest cost in our $3.5 trillion health care system” with costs rising far faster than GDP, inflation and wage growth! Read more via @nytimes: Click here to RT.  



Check out and share on Twitter our latest blog posts:

- Why Americans Are Anxious. Three-quarters of Americans who take prescription drugs say it is “easy” to afford them. But Americans are worried about health-care costs. What, then, is at the root of these anxieties? We take a look. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.

- An Unbalanced Debate. On July 24-25, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) convened a two-day workshop to discuss “the role of NIH in drug development innovation and its impact on patient access.” The seminar had one sponsor—the John and Laura Arnold Foundation—and they hand-selected several panelists who share their perspective. In fact, the sixth session was stacked almost entirely with individuals who receive funding from the Arnolds. 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.



- A Patient Speaks About Policy And Innovation. In a recent blog post, Voters for Cures advocate Josh Harden, who has faced heart problems for his entire life, wrote, “The science driving many of the treatments for serious, complex conditions has never been more promising. We cannot take this momentum and progress for granted. When I hear that policymakers in Washington want to move forward with penny-wise and pound-foolish laws that would threaten my access to the treatments that I need, it’s a disheartening message. The fact that federal lawmakers are considering a proposal to impose foreign price controls on American patients and seniors will make it harder for me and millions of Americans to benefit from innovative new treatments.”

- Physician: PBMs Are “Causing Increases In Drug Prices.” In Forbes, Dr. Gary Price describes how pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have denied or delayed treatments he wanted for his patients. Dr. Price concludes, “If PBMs are consistently causing increases in drug prices, delaying treatment, and limiting options for patients, why are they part of our health-care system? PBMs were developed with good intentions: to help insurance and pharmaceutical companies provide affordable drugs to patients quickly. Unfortunately, that is not how PBMs operate anymore, which makes me think it’s time we rid our system of these unnecessary middlemen.”

- Canadian Price Controls Will Harm Patients. The Canadian government recently enacted stricter price controls from pharmaceuticals, and patients are worried they will result in delayed access to the drugs they need. According to Com, “Toronto lawyer and longtime Liberal supporter Chris MacLeod, who lives with cystic fibrosis, said … it pains him to speak out against the government, but he fears lives could be on the line as a result of what he calls a ‘wholly irresponsible’ approach. ‘It will be delayed access at best; denial or no access at worst,’ MacLeod said.”

- Talking About List Price Doesn’t Work. Though the subject of the article is health insurance, a new piece at JAMA Forum concludes, “Price transparency has been touted as a way to reduce health care spending, but there’s one big problem: it has rarely worked.” Something to remember as President Donald Trump attempts to revive efforts to advertise drug prices.



Radio host and former U.S. Air Force veteran Stacy Washington on the effects of the International Pricing Index:

“Price controls make it difficult for companies to recoup their upfront costs. They kill the incentive to invest in cures. If HHS adopts these price caps, drug development will grind to a halt — and patients will suffer.”


In an op-ed in Rocket Miner, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) explains that he voted against the Senate Finance Committee drug-pricing bill because he opposes price controls:  

“Recently, I voted in the Senate Finance Committee against the Prescription Drug-Pricing Reduction Act, which includes major changes to how Medicare and Medicaid reimburse for drugs. While I agree that Congress should be working to help lower drug prices, there unfortunately were serious issues with this specific legislation. … [O]ne of the most serious issues with the bill is how it would mandate government price controls under Medicare Part D, which helps provide prescription drug coverage for seniors.”



Wednesday, Sept. 11, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Health Affairs and the National Pharmaceutical Council

Location: National Press Club, 529 14th Street Northwest, Washington, DC

Topic: Health Spending: Moving From Theory to Action


- Otis Brawley, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Johns Hopkins University

- James C. Capretta, Resident Fellow and Milton Friedman Chair, American Enterprise Institute

- Mandy Cohen, Secretary, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

- Ceci Connolly, President and CEO, Association of Community Health Plans

- Patrick Conway, President and CEO, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

- Robert Dubois, Chief Science Officer, National Pharmaceutical Council

- Robin Gelburd, President, FAIR Health

- Adaeze Enekwechi, President, IMPAQ

- Chris Koller, President, Milbank Memorial Fund

- Elizabeth Mitchell, President and CEO, Pacific Business Group on Health

- Dan Ollendorf, Tufts University Medical Center

- Surya Singh, President, Singh Healthcare Advisors

- Reed Tuckson, Managing Director of Tuckson Health Connections, LLC

- Alan Weil, Editor-in-Chief, Health Affairs