KEY IDEA: Today some pharma CEO’s will go to Congressional Hill to answer questions about high drug prices. Politicians are conducting this charade because they want to give voters the idea that “they care” and that they are doing something. What won’t be discussed are the real reasons American healthcare is the most expensive in the world with poor results.

  • Catalyst CEO Patrick McEnany is now building his stand around the FDA approval of the $375,000 annual price tag it has slapped on its newly approved drug Firdapse.
  • “We believe that the pricing of our product is in line with the pricing of other products that provide significant clinical benefits” according to their CEO.
  • The CEO also says the company will do whatever they can to limit patients’ out of pocket cost but the damage is already done.

IN SUMMARY: According to a recent study in Scientific American, ” the FDA’s assumption that more risk information leads to greater concern about risk is misplaced. Across six experiments, comprising of over 3000 US participants, we reliably find that when drug commercials include all side effects (both major and minor), in line with the FDA’s regulations, consumers’ judged the overall severity of drug side effects to be lower than when exposed to only major side effects. This lowered assessment of severity led consumers to prefer the drug more—and made them willing to pay more for the drug”. This, to say the least, is a hugely flawed study.

  • Our high cost of care and modest health outcomes will remain stubbornly fixed unless our behavior changes.
  •  Nearly 40% of Americans were considered obese in 2015 and 2016, a significant increase from 2007 and 2008.
  • 2016 study published in the Journal of the AMA found that only 2% of Americans met the ideal dietary guidelines adopted by the American Heart Association.
  • In a 2015 survey, 28% of American adults that they did not participate in the past year in any of 104 listed physical activities and were considered “totally sedentary.”
  • Doctors are increasingly worried about loneliness.
  • Vivek Murthy, a former surgeon-general of the United States, called loneliness an epidemic, likening its impact on health to obesity or smoking 15 cigarettes per day.
  • A study found that in America people always or often feel lonely.
  • A study published in 2010 using this scale estimated that 35% of Americans over 45 were lonely.

IN SUMMARY: Amazon’s decision to pull out of New York is a lesson for EVERY corporation. The retail giant’s expansion in New York encountered opposition in no small part because of growing frustration with corporate America and their huge tax breaks. With the media consistently highlighting “pharma greed” people, and politicians, are going to point fingers at big pharma.

  • Pharma continues to be portrayed as the villain in pricing but there are other villains who are escaping scrutiny.
  • The 5 largest conglomerates combining health insurance and pharmacy benefits are on track this year to be bigger than the 5 preeminent tech companies.
  • Half of people in fair to poor health are uninsured or struggle with affordability.
  • Annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose five percent to an average $19,616 this year, extending a seven-year run of moderate increases.