KEY TAKEAWAY: While there are a lot of “unknowns” with a new President pharma should start preparing their organizations for the changes that are going to come in order to better compete strategically.
According to Ed Silverman over at STAT news “A big bet now is that the Trump administration will not be as aggressive in tackling prescription drug prices as a Clinton administration might have been. Even so, the issue isn’t going to disappear. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 63 percent of Americans want the government to take action to lower drug costs. Some state legislators are making noise about reviving or introducing bills to reduce prices.”
What we are telling clients
The media is still focused on drug pricing and this in turn will fan the flames of voter concern around the cost of prescription drugs. We don’t expect any pricing pressures in the short term, but strategically the model of annual price increases for prescription drugs is going to be challenged. In addition, six figure prices for new drugs without a clear demonstrated patient benefit are going to come under intense pressure from insurers, doctors and patients.
There might also be pressure on the FDA to speed drug approvals, but expect the FDA to push back on this effort. Drugs that demonstrate early efficacy for serious conditions will get a “first in line” effort, but if one of these drugs should cause early patient fatalities the FDA will recoil with more precautions.
DTC advertising will be safe under the umbrella of “free market” competition, however DTC marketers will be held more accountable to ensure that every dollar spent goes towards driving sales. In addition oncology will see more DTC ads as new products are approved and competition increases in areas like immunology.
Strategically, we expect pharma organizations to become “more lean” which means more layoffs. Sales people, in some areas, are still finding it hard to talk to HCP’s and pharma cannot afford to pay sales people to just deliver samples. However, one of the growing area will be in physician support of qualified people with advanced medical degrees. These people can offer a real value to HCP’s and talk to them about potential “off label uses” of products as well as find specific answers to complex medical questions.