The Alliance

The Weekly Dose | 11.15.19

November 15, 2019 12:16 pm

As we explained in a blog post last week, small biotech companies are easily made and undone. Often these companies endure mass layoffs when their hoped-for cure or treatment does not make a certain milestone. Now imagine if Washington successfully curbs what these companies can recoup when they do successfully find a cure or an innovative new treatment. Investment in the industry will decline, and innovation along with it.


That’s why, according to STAT News, small companies are “scared stiff” about legislation that is being debated in Washington. Paul Hastings, CEO of Nkarta Therapeutics, said these bills “could have devastating effects on our industry, period. End of discussion.” STAT News said this perspective offered by these small companies is an important one.


We could not agree more, which is why we are trying to tell their stories. Stories like this one, about how Global Blood Therapeutics and its quest to development a new treatment for sickle cell disease. If you need more info like this 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




- A recent #cysticfibrosis treatment is a godsend for #patients and another reason to oppose gov't #pricecontrols. As @MaryVought writes, price controls will “block Americans’ access to treatments ... or worse yet, stifle medical #innovation altogether.” Click here to RT.


- .@SenateFinance’s proposed legislation on #Medicare #pricecontrols would “drastically slow the pace of medical #innovation.” See why Sandhip Shah believes “patients and scientists would be better off if gridlock prevailed,” at @HoustonChron: Click here to RT.


- In Ohio, #PBMs took $224M from patients in just one year using spread pricing. Read how Ohio’s @RepGalonski is reforming our #healthcare system without stifling #innovation in the process, via @DispatchAlerts: Click here to RT.




Check out and share on Twitter our latest blog posts:


- Another Look At Polling. Despite the hyperbolic headlines surrounding drug prices, only 10 percent of Americans view prescription drug prices as a financial burden on their families. For more stats on healthcare and innovation typically glossed over by the media, read our blog post. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.


- Four Reports, Same Conclusion: Americans Aren’t Paying More For Drugs. More evidence surfaced last week showing prices for life-saving medications are declining. Based on data from Sector & Sovereign Research, STAT News reported that wholesale and net drug prices trended downward in the second quarter of 2019. The report reflects the findings of others that also indicate drug prices are not rising. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.


- The Worth of a Thing is What it Will Bring. Even if medications are of “enormous worth to a disabled person, that value is never truly captured” because most therapies won’t ever restore a disabled person to perfect #health. ICER has many issues, including neglecting patients in the decision process. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.




- Taking A “Hatchet” To The U.S. Biopharmaceutical System. Axios reports “President Trump wants the U.S. to pay less than other countries for some prescription drugs covered by Medicare — a benchmark even lower than what congressional Democrats want.” That means that the “administration has moved the goalposts on its one major drug-pricing policy left on the table, which could take a hatchet to the U.S. pharmaceutical system's business — if it’s ever implemented.”


- United States And China Are In A Race For Biopharmaceutical Innovation. And that might not be good for the American economy—or our patients. Foreign Policy writes: “Historically, Western countries, and especially the United States, have been the epicenter of research in the life sciences. The United States alone accounted for some 45 percent of biotech and medical patents filed in the 14-year period ending in 2013. But now, thanks to heavy state-backed investment, China is catching up.” But this is scarier: “Several Chinese researchers have shown a willingness to ignore ethical and regulatory constraints on genetic research. In 2018, He Jiankui became a poster child for scientific irresponsibility when he announced he had edited the genes of two twins in utero without following basic safety protocols. He reportedly dismissed them as guidelines, not laws.”


- Drug Price Controls Lead To Drug Shortages. At Forbes, Pacific Research Institute Senior Fellow Wayne Winegarden explains, “It is not simply a lack of access to drugs either; price controls often cause drug shortages even in the instances where the government has granted patients access to the drug. Drug shortages in Canada are so pervasive that the Canadian government has authorized a website dedicated toward ‘reporting drug shortages and discontinuations in Canada.’ Consequently, patients in Canada, the UK, and other countries with drug price controls are often unable to receive treatments with the latest drugs and biologics.”


- Specialty Pharmacies Are Dying Because Of CVS Health, UnitedHealth Group. Axios reports: “Diplomat Pharmacy, which sells medications to people with complex conditions and acts as a drug benefit middleman, is a shell of itself. The company was worth more than $3 billion in its heyday in 2015, but is now worth a little more than $200 million after a disastrous third quarter. The bottom line: Larger specialty drug players — owned by Cigna, CVS Health and UnitedHealth Group — have crushed Diplomat with their size.” We have explored how this consolidation will harm patients, and how CVS and UnitedHealth are pressing for other measures that could harm consumers.




In the Northern Kentucky Tribune, Kyle Keeney, president and CEO of the Kentucky Life Science Council, asks that members of Congress reject legislation that would cap prescription drug prices. He says that policy will result in patients waiting longer to receive life-saving treatment:


“Every year, new treatments are developed for patients living with a terminal diagnosis. For them, time is critical and the promise of innovation brings them hope. Getting a treatment option to market for a Metastatic Breast Cancer patient a year early can literally mean the difference between life and death. For example, 96 percent of new cancer drugs are available in the U.S., at an average delay of three months. By comparison, Japanese patients have access to 50 percent of new medicines and wait on average 23 months. German and Canadian patients wait four times longer; French patients wait six times longer. None of these countries even approach the access to new therapies available to American patients.”




Wednesday, November 20: Ripon Society

Location: The Capitol Hill Club, 300 First St. SE, Washington DC

Topic: Today’s Investment for Tomorrow’s Cures

Agenda: Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) and his colleague and architect of the 21st Century Cures Act Fred Upton (R-MI) will discuss  implementation of the landmark legislation and what comes next for medical innovation.

Website: Link