Pharma losing the battle over drug prices

SUMMARY: With much attention on the public’s view on Medicare drug price negotiations, the latest KFF Tracking Poll finds large majorities support allowing the federal government to negotiate, and this support holds steady even after the public is provided the arguments being presented by parties on both sides of the legislative debate (83% total, 95% of Democrats, 82% of independents, and 71% of Republicans).

According to the KFF pollmost adults – across partisans – don’t believe high drug prices are needed for drug companies to invest in new research instead agreeing that “even if U.S. prices were lower, drug companies would still make enough money to invest in the research needed to develop new drugs.” The results suggest that while hearing individual arguments may shift some views, the public still largely favors allowing Medicare drug negotiations when presented with the entirety of the public debate.

In other words, the drug industry is losing the battle to keep drug prices high in the U.S.

What PhRMA forgets is that people today are more intelligent about the causes of high drug prices. This is especially true when companies like Moderna have been supplying its shots almost exclusively to wealthy nations, keeping poorer countries waiting and earning billions in profit while executives from the company are now on Forbes’s most affluent.

The other issue that’s troubling voters is the drug industry’s fight against patent expirations. For example, Humira, the rheumatoid arthritis blockbuster made by AbbVie, continues to generate more revenue than any other drug due to AbbVie extending U.S. patents and consequently retaining higher U.S. prices.

The bottom line is that eventually, Medicare will start negotiating drug prices with big pharma. Pharma will continue to scream and complain, but they will continue to be a big business whose pursuit of profits overrides everything else.