Pharma refuses to acknowledge that a storm is coming

KEY TAKEAWAY: Large majorities of Republican, Democratic and independent voters say they would be more likely to vote for candidates in this year’s midterm elections who are committed to bringing down the cost of prescription drugs according to a poll released last week by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).  Yet companies like AbbVie raised prices of drugs and are blocking generic versions of their medications.  Change is coming, but too many pharma CEO’s are still too subservient to Wall Street. 

Average per-capita costs of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program rose at a 4.4 percent annual rate between 2013 and 2016, and are projected to rise 4.7 percent annually through 2026, according to KFF analysis of federal data.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Medicare accounts for 29 percent of all spending for U.S. retail prescription drugs[/inlinetweet], but the law contained a sop to the powerful pharmaceutical lobby that helps explain today’s drug price inflation problem.

The law states that the secretary of Health and Human Services “may not interfere” in negotiations between pharmaceutical companies and prescription drug insurance plan providers. “It was a remarkable phrase to slip in,” Neuman said, “and it was designed to keep the pharmaceutical industry happy.”

Yet with all this PhRMA and the CO of J&J say that more efforts to control prices would be bad for the pharma industry.  Excuse me, but people aren’t buying that anymore.

Consider this…[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]AbbVie raised the price on Humira so much that it’s expected to increase US drug spending $1.2 billion despite getting a $1 billion tax break [/inlinetweet]while deploying new patents to prevent patients and insurers from getting two essentially generic versions of the drugs for less money.  AbbVie’s first line of defense still has at least 75 other patents that protect the drug, with various expiration dates stretching through 2032.

A forward thinking CEO would of course acknowledge that the loss of the drug to patent protection is inevitable, but a CEO beholding to Wall Street would not only fight tooth and nail to keep the drug from coming off patent they would raise the price so that it costs us all more.  This is what pharma has become…

The storm is coming and it’s going to be a whopper.  Pharma is still acting like they can’t see the storm clouds on the horizon and they WILL pay the price.