SUMMARY: John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future”. Change is coming for one simple reason; our country can’t sustain the current costs of healthcare. Today’s pharma CEOs should prepare their organizations for the future, not wasting money with lobbying costs.
Politico reported Thursday that in recent private discussions with lawmakers, pharmaceutical lobbyists have explicitly invoked the industry’s role in the rapid development of coronavirus vaccines as an argument against proposed fixes for out-of-control prescription drug costs and other regulations. Industry lobbyists claim that any government attempt to intervene in pharmaceutical companies’ price-setting would stifle innovation and prolong the fight against Covid-19.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chair of the Senate Budget Committee and a leading advocate of the reform estimates it would save the federal government around $450 billion over the next decade, funds that could be used to expand Medicare’s benefits. Recent research has also found that the policy change could save individual patients thousands of dollars on crucial prescription medications.
While it’s true, the drug industry developed COVID vaccines; the government spent billions on research pre-pandemic and $18 billion more on trials, production, and purchase. Drug corps are reaping record profits.
It costs, by all estimates, $1.5 billion to develop a new drug, but what about the drug companies that are using mergers and acquisitions to “buy” new drugs? It’s also been suggested that the costs of developing new drugs have come way down.
But there’s a rub. Americans don’t care for themselves and depend on the drug industry to keep us healthy. More Americans than ever—about 42% of us—qualify as clinically obese. It’s an urgent problem, considering that obesity significantly raises the risk of serious illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and dementia.
While almost everyone is aware of ways to prevent catching COVID, the “talk” about a patient’s unhealthy lifestyle has yet to be had. To make matters worse, too many people are using COVID as an excuse to stay home and sit in front of their computers all day.
The bottom line is that our healthcare system cannot afford expensive drugs and unhealthy Americans. IMO there is an excellent chance the Federal government will vote to negotiate drug prices for Medicare. Drug companies should prepare for this scenario. Instead of sending out 2500 sales aids via Fed-Ex, that nobody will use and giving drug reps cars that are sitting idle, it’s time to rethink everything about how the drug industry competes.