|Pharma companies being demonized by both parties about "high" drug prices, and surprisingly enough, both Pelosi and Trump are considering some of the same "solutions" to lower them. One is having the government negotiate directly with "big pharma" over what it will pay for drugs paid for by Medicare and Medicaid. From a Forbes article that's two weeks old: "All 10 Democratic candidates for president who’ve qualified for the debate on Thursday, September 12 have voiced support for various pieces of legislation to lower drug prices. Some of their ideas even align with proposals from President Donald Trump, including letting Medicare negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. And all would take some freedom away from drug makers for setting, and changing, prices." forbes.com|
Another of the proposed "solutions" that has been getting more traction lately, and which I find particularly disturbing, is an "international price index" that would peg prices here in the US to what other countries charge. However, many, including all EU members, strictly regulate what can be charged, so if something akin to that were implemented here, there would be de facto price controls. An NPR article from last week points out that those are indeed some of the countries being heralded as examples for setting the index. I've reproduced part of it below, along with a link to the entire piece; notwithstanding it's obviously left-leaning slant on the issue, I found it accurate in reporting the seminal fact that proposals like that are coming from both sides of the political spectrum, and with similar language; Pelosi talks about drug companies "ripping off" Americans, and Trump saying "They've taken advantage of us for a long time." Thus, it's easy to see why investor interest may be tempered. As the article states in part: "Both plans would use the average price internationally for each drug as a benchmark in negotiations, so that Americans don't pay more than about 20% above what people in other countries pay. That's still more than what people pay outside the U.S., but less than they pay now."
Of course, looking on the bright side, Immunomedics shareholders don't have to be concerned about that yet, because Behzad and the rest of our great leadership team blew the biotech opportunity of a lifetime by ensuring that rinky-dink Morris Plains headquarters was the only facility on the face of the Earth that would manufacture HRS7 - and therefore for want of a simple compound that's not even under patent protection anymore, over a hundred million dollars in "sunk costs" have been squandered and which will never be recouped, billions in shareholder value was destroyed, and thousands of women have needlessly suffered. Thus, we have great data, but no product to sell - but hey, the upside is that we have no worries about the effect of price controls! Who says I'm not a "glass half full" kinda guy? But I digress. Herewith more excerpts from the article:
How An 'International Price Index' Might Help Reduce Drug Prices
In gridlocked Washington, both Democrats and Republicans have signaled there's potential for a deal when it comes to lowering prescription drug prices. Now, there's an idea both Congressional Democrats and the White House seem to like: They want to base U.S. prices on something called an international price index.
"The basic idea is to peg what the United States pays for a particular drug to the price paid in some set of other countries," says Rachel Sachs, an associate professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis who specializes in drug pricing policy. "There are many different ways to identify other countries, and there are many different ways in which that international reference price could be used to negotiate for a price here."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled her sweeping plan to reduce drug prices Thursday, which included an international price index. There are lots of differences between that plan and the one the White House floated last fall, but the basics — and the appeal of the concept — are the same.
"It stops drug companies from ripping off Americans while charging other countries less for the drug," Pelosi said in a press conference announcing the House plan, which would use drug prices in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom to create a baseline in negotiating prices.
She's speaking President Trump's language. Here's what he told reporters in July: "Why should other nations like Canada — why should other nations pay much less than us? They've taken advantage of the system for a long time, pharma."
Earlier this summer, the Department of Health and Human Services sent its own IPI proposal to the White House for review, though the details haven't been made public. The idea of establishing an IPI is the only element of the administration's plan to lower prescription drug prices still on the table — other ideas, like displaying list prices in TV ads and ending secret rebates for middlemen have been withdrawn or blocked in the courts.
Unsurprisingly, drugmakers also object. "Speaker Pelosi's radical plan would end the current market-based system that has made the United States the global leader in developing innovative, lifesaving treatments and cures," Stephen Ubl, CEO of lobbying group PhRMA, says in a written statement. "We do not need to blow up the current system to make medicines more affordable."
But Pelosi and her allies seem to be betting there is political will to go against drugmakers this time. Despite the huge sums spent on lobbying, the pharmaceutical industry is now the most unpopular industry in the country, according to a recent Gallup poll. And with a presidential election coming up, Americans polled say lowering drug prices is a top priority.
Full article: npr.org