About a year and a half after Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the ire of government and the public with a dramatic price hike on a 60-year-old antibiotic, both the Trump administration and Congressional lawmakers are gearing up to put the brakes on perceived price-gouging by pharmaceutical companies.
Some drugmakers have taken bold strides toward self-regulation on pricing:
- In a blog post last September, Allergan CEO Brent Saunders outlined the company’s four-point social contract with patients – including a vow to keep annual price hikes in the single digits.
- AbbVie, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi have followed Allergan’s lead in recent months with commitments to keep drug prices in check.
- In February, Johnson & Johnson issued its first annual transparency report amid criticism of the opacity of the pharma business. Merck and Eli Lilly have followed suit, revealing their high-level pricing data.
- Eli Lilly partnered with Express Scripts on a program aimed at providing insulin at discounted prices.
While the drug industry insists that insurers and PBMs play a major role in skyrocketing drug prices, for the time being, policymakers’ crosshairs are squarely on pharma companies.
Key developments to watch include:
- Led by HHS Secretary Tom Price, the Trump administration is holding listening sessions with industry groups and advocates to identify strategies it can adopt – with or without Congress – to fight high drug prices. The White House is considering market-based reforms, as well as possible tweaks to Medicare and Medicaid.
- In a speech to FDA staff, newly-minted agency chief Scott Gottlieb said: “I know FDA doesn’t play a direct role in drug pricing. But we still need to be taking meaningful steps to get more low cost alternatives to the market, to increase competition, and to give consumers more options.”
- The furor over pricing isn’t limited to the U.S. The European Commission is investigating South African drugmaker Aspen over its pricing of cancer drugs.
This article was originally published on ShiftCentral, now part of LAC Group.