Sector News

J&J chief Gorsky straddles Trump's globalism divide

March 20, 2017
Life sciences

Amid uncertainty for pharma as President Donald Trump embarks on his quest of putting “America First,” Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky played down the potential fallout for his company during a CNBC interview Monday.

Gorsky, visiting China for a business summit, told CNBC’s Eunice Yoon he’s “encouraged” about the ongoing discussions in Washington, D.C., particularly tax changes that would allow companies to bring home foreign cash more cheaply. But, in a contradiction to Trump’s more protectionist stance, Gorsky said that globalization is “critical” for J&J.

To be competitive in healthcare, a corporation has to have a worldwide reach, Gorsky contended. And asked about tough trade rhetoric between the U.S. and China, Gorsky said he takes a “hopeful” approach that the countries will build on the “strong foundation” built up in previous administrations.

China is a critical market for J&J—an “exciting opportunity,” Gorsky said—as it is for many Big Pharmas these days. Though growth in the country has slowed, it’s still among the faster-moving pharma markets in the world. J&J has more than 10,000 employees in the country and plans to invest $500 million in R&D operations there.

The helmsman also weighed in on manufacturing—which Trump has urged pharma to “bring back” to the U.S.—plus the company’s recent $30 billion deal to buy Actelion and the Republican healthcare bill making rounds in Washington.

Gorsky said he’s waiting to see specific proposals that might affect drug manufacturing. He remains “optimistic” that U.S. leaders can balance the requirements of global trade, which typically means locating manufacturing facilities near countries where they’re sold, and demands for a strong manufacturing sector in the States.

On healthcare, he said the government is “going to have to make changes” and should look to adopt an “outcomes-based approach” while working to create stronger partnerships between varying segments of the industry.

J&J itself has dabbled in pay-for-performance arrangements on its own drugs; for instance, as new hepatitis C drugs from Gilead Sciences took the market by storm, J&J inked a money-back deal with U.K. cost watchdogs for its own older med Olysio. In the U.S., it has signed on to a Medicare project looking to test value-based payments for prescription meds.

As for its two-pronged deal with Actelion, Gorksy explained to Yoon that the arrangement is designed to combine the biotech’s promising science with J&J’s global reach, creating a “significant opportunity.”

J&J, which employed 126,400 people around the globe as of Jan. 1, isn’t likely to be significantly affected by proposals that could shake up the government’s H-1B visa work program, the CEO added.

Gorsky was part of the first group of business leaders to meet with Trump after the president’s inauguration. Before taking office, Trump said the drug industry is “getting away with murder,” later dialing that rhetoric back during a conversation with other prominent biopharma representatives.

Still, Trump continues to push for lower prices, recently saying he wants to grow “competition” in the industry. His pick to lead the FDA, Scott Gottlieb, is expected to push for faster FDA approvals, and that may have earned him favor with the president, one analyst wrote before Trump’s selection went official.

Among other proposals to lower drug prices, the president is also favors Medicare price negotiations, a spokesperson recently said.

By Eric Sagonowsky

Source: Fierce Pharma

comments closed

Related News

November 28, 2021

Founder-led biotech is making space for ideas—and diverse leaders—where it didn’t exist before

Life sciences

Decades ago, the founder-led biotech was rare and considered the tougher path to follow. Now there is a trend of founder-led biotechs that have risen in prominence in recent years, going from startup to well known with lightning speed. Scientists-turned C-suite occupants know their technology inside out. They’ve got credibility both at the bench working with their research teams and in the boardrooms selling their future products.

November 28, 2021

Pfizer to become $100B behemoth next year thanks to COVID-19 drug and vaccine: analyst

Life sciences

Pfizer’s revenue could reach $101.3 billion in 2022, with major contributions coming from the company’s BioNTech-partnered COVID vaccine and an antiviral therapeutic that has shown stellar clinical data, SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges projected in a Monday note to clients.

November 28, 2021

GlaxoSmithKline takes aim at sick pay access inequities with microgrant program and new campaign

Life sciences

In a survey commissioned by GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer health division of 2,000 working people in the U.S., almost 70% admitted to clocking in while sick, often because they couldn’t afford to lose a day’s pay. Black and Latina women were 10% more likely than white women to shun taking sick time for fear of fallout from their boss, according to the company’s 2021 Temperature Check Report.

Send this to a friend