Sector News

AstraZeneca chief says Europe should pay more for drugs—and the U.S. should pay less

November 9, 2018
Life sciences

President Donald Trump has routinely bashed “global freeloading” on pharmaceuticals, and his administration last month unveiled a plan to try and lower some U.S. drug prices to international levels. Now, a top pharma CEO says he’s right—at least in principle.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said a “readjustment” of prices, to slightly raise European prices and slightly cut U.S. prices, would be warranted.

After all, he said, the world is “benefiting” from the United States’ high prices that have incentivized R&D—and help fund it.

Thing is, he doesn’t know how those pricing tweaks would happen.

“Whether that can be done, I don’t know,” he said in the interview. “It’s probably unlikely.” Soriot said Japanese prices are a “good benchmark.”

Soriot’s remarks follow the Trump administration’s plan last month to create an international price index and gradually lower Medicare Part B drug prices. In conjunction with the plan, the HHS released a report that showed, for the top 27 drugs that account for the most in Medicare Part B drug spending, prices in the U.S. are 180% higher, on average, than they are in countries with similar economies.

Other top pharma CEOs voiced their thoughts on the plan during their third-quarter conference calls. Pfizer CEO Ian Read, for instance, said he doesn’t think it “makes sense” because the plan involves “importing one country’s industrial policy … into a country that’s based on innovation.” Allergan’s Brent Saunders said the proposal “could have a destabilizing effect on how we think about investing for innovation in our industry.”

The debate over international pricing is part of a larger conversation over U.S. prices. Apart from the Part B plan, the Trump administration has been pushing for drug prices in TV ads, and the FDA has been approving more generics than ever in an effort to provide relief. In May, the administration released its pricing blueprint, with a goal to increase competition and negotiation for pharmaceuticals, as well as lower list prices and out-of-pocket costs for patients.

After the midterm elections, industry watchers expect continued attention to pricing and potential new headaches for pharma in the form of investigations and committee hearings.

By Eric Sagonowsky

Source: Fierce Pharma

comments closed

Related News

October 2, 2022

GSK names Julie Brown, a 25-year AstraZeneca veteran, its first woman CFO

Life sciences

Five years ago, GSK made headlines when it hired Emma Walmsley to become the first woman to run a major pharmaceutical company. Now the Big Pharma has brought in another woman to control the company’s finances. Julie Brown will be GSK’s next chief financial officer. Brown, currently the chief operating and financial officer at fashion and beauty brand Burberry Group, is set to replace Iain Mackay.

October 2, 2022

Moderna creates new launch preparation role, poaches Novartis exec as manufacturing lead

Life sciences

Moderna created a new role responsible for “building out the company’s organization to support its growing pipeline.” Starting first thing 2023, Juan Andres, Moderna’s manufacturing head, will step into this new role under the title president of strategic partnerships and enterprise expansion, the company said Thursday.

October 2, 2022

Torrent Pharma to acquire Curatio for $245.16m

Life sciences

The latest takeover is anticipated to boost the presence of Torrent in the dermatology segment. Indian company Torrent Pharmaceuticals has signed a definitive agreement for the complete acquisition of Curatio Healthcare for $245.16m (Rs20bn).