Pharma’s primary customer is Wall Street, not patients

  • The S&P 500 healthcare sector has been on a tear in recent months, on track for its best quarter in five years and surging to an all-time high on Friday.
  • A forensic accounting of available financial data of the pharmaceutical giants Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Merck Sharp & Dohme, and Abbott—shows that from 2013 to 2015, these four multinational drug makers collectively avoided paying about $3.7 billion in taxes.
  • Publishing in JAMA Internal Medicine the median estimated cost of the full range of studies: $19 million to get new drug approval.
  • Pharma’s primary customer continues to be Wall Street.

“Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right”.  However, pharma company’s primary customers continue to be Wall Street not patients.

I subscribe to a lot of pharma news feeds and when a drug fails in a clinical trial it’s always about the invest implications not the patients.   C-level executives are compensated by how their stock performs while patients struggle to pay rising co-pays for life saving medications.

While propaganda mouthpiece PhRMA continues to blame PBM’s and talk about the high cost of R&D pharma companies are slashing R&D staffs while reports of greatly reduced costs to bring drugs to market continue to erode the perceived the idea that it costs hundreds of millions.

While the pharmaceutical industry lost an eleventh-hour bid last week to attach a $4 billion windfall to Congress’ bipartisan opioid bill, lawmakers and industry analysts expect it to try again with good prospects of prevailing — perhaps as soon as the lame-duck session after the November election.

According to Politico “drugmakers took a rare financial hit in the bipartisan budget deal passed in February when they were put on the hook to pay $11.8 billion toward senior medicines over 10 years in the fight over the Medicare drug benefit “doughnut” hole. Now they’re trying to soften that blow, seeking relief from at least $4 billion of those costs in what they describe as “a technical correction“ to a calculation that made the industry responsible for more money than lawmakers had sought. Congressional aides to senior members of both parties say they have a good chance of success — a stark reminder of how challenging it will be for lawmakers to take on the drug lobby, even as voters across party lines demand lower costs of medicines.”

So tell me again how the pharma industry is “so concerned” about patients?

As long as healthcare continues to be so profitable businesses will continue to do whatever they can to impress Wall Street even if it means that patients get the short end of the stick.  So save me the talk about about being “patient centered” and caring about our customers.

One thought on “Pharma’s primary customer is Wall Street, not patients

  1. Unfortunately, there is nothing new here, Rich. I spent a 40+ year career in pharma marketing and saw many a good communications program gutted because there was a quarter that underperformed against the projections our CEO had shared with Wall Street. There was never a discussion about the impact it may have had on getting information to health care providers, their patients, or the layoffs that eventually ensued. Sad, but true.

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