Sector News

Trump pledges 'new system' to bring drug prices down

March 7, 2017
Life sciences

After House Republicans unveiled a new healthcare bill that’s all but silent on drug pricing, President Donald Trump on Tuesday promised that he hasn’t abandoned his pledge to take action.

Trump first tweeted Tuesday that “getting rid of state lines, which will promote competition, will be in phase 2 & 3 of healthcare rollout,” apparently referring to geographic restrictions on insurers—and filling in what he sees as a gap in the Obamacare repeal-and-replace effort.

Then, five minutes later, he switched to pharma.

It’s the latest in a series of political developments—and Trump pronouncements—that have kept industry-watchers on edge. The president has made repeated promises to “bring down” drug prices, and has backed some ideas, such as Medicare price negotiation and drug importation, that drugmakers have fought off in the past. As yet, however, the administration hasn’t set out specific proposals to tackle high drug prices in the U.S.

Reacting to Tuesday’s presidential tweet, Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat wondered what Trump meant by bolstering competition. He noted that brand vs. generic competition exists and direct brand vs. brand competition requires interchangeable meds. That’s possible in some therapeutic areas, but not all, he pointed out.

“Reality is, we just don’t know until something definitive is put out,” Raffat said.

Before he took office in January, Trump said the drug industry was “getting away with murder.” He promised more competitive “bidding” to save the U.S. billions in healthcare costs. That promise left drugmakers and analysts scratching their heads about what sort of competitive bidding process could apply to drugs.

After that, at a White House meeting with industry representatives, the president softened his tone to say that pharma companies have done a “terrific job over the years, but we have to get prices down for a lot of reasons.” Top CEOs and trade organization leaders came away from that meeting apparently cheered by talk of tax reform, and less worried about pricing moves.

Still, the industry’s pricing stance is quite different from Trump’s public comments. In the wake of Trump’s January screed, Pfizer CEO Ian Read said the president likely “hasn’t been briefed” on the competition dynamics in the drug industry. Read said “it’s a very complicated industry,” one with a “huge amount of bidding and extremely aggressive purchasing.”

While the drug pricing debate rolls on, pharma could be working to leverage its job-creation argument in negotiations with a White House that has put a strong emphasis on that subject, according to Raffat.

Biopharma shares were trading slightly down late Tuesday morning after the tweet.

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).