The Republican blockade of President Biden’s nominees for federal agencies escalated last week and now allows profit-hungry middlemen to keep prescription drug prices high. Last Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission was blocked from initiating an investigation into how pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are responsible for higher drug prices. This has PhRMA written all over it.


  • Pfizer asks for accelerated approval for a COVID booster shot even though the FDA says it’s unnecessary.
  • From 2016 to 2020, the 14 leading drug companies spent $577 billion on stock buybacks and dividends—$56 billion more than they spent on R&D over the same period.”
  • From 2016 to 2020, compensation for the 14 companies’ top executives totaled $3.2 billion.
  • The drug industry is driven by profits, not by patient’s needs.

SUMMARY: Via the Financial Times, “pharmaceutical companies have never had it so good. The rapid rollout of Covid-19 vaccines has made household names of Pfizer and AstraZeneca, and the whole industry is winning praise for co-operation”. However, the bump in reputation will be short-lived because companies need to earn the public’s trust every day, and pharma is already damaging their perception with people.

SUMMARY: Pharma’s reputation got a bump the latest Harris Poll survey shows but behind the numbers is more of a reality. Overall, about 16% of Americans had a negative or more negative view of pharma in mid-May, which was again on par with April sentiment. The only reason given by a majority (53%) was the criticism that pharma is not making drug treatments more affordable during this time of crisis. That was followed by putting company interests before people during the crisis (45%) and not doing enough to protect vulnerable populations (43%). Forty percent attributed their negative feelings to the industry’s “poor” response to the crisis.