SAN FRANCISCO--Sometimes, it can tough to be filter out what a company means from the little it says at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. So please, allow us to do the summarizing--and check back throughout the week for updates.
Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez
According to Novartis ($NVS) CEO Joe Jimenez, competition in the pharma space is intensifying--and it's not just thanks to the traditional players. Tech companies, with the digitization of healthcare, "are coming in from a different angle, and it's going to be an area where we have to watch leverage and pay real attention," he said on Monday. Lately, Novartis has been teaming up with tech, inking a pact last week to develop a smart inhaler; it already had a contact-lens partnership with Verily.
Recently, Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) has "tended to focus on smaller opportunities" when it comes to business development, CEO Alex Gorsky told investors. The company would prefer to find the next blockbuster through partnering, later bringing in its clinical development and regulatory skills to turn compounds into billion-dollar platforms, he said. Large acquisitions, on the other hand, are "more challenging," though they're "not something we'd shy away from if we thought it was the right opportunity," he said.
When it comes to pricing, Merck ($MRK) CEO Kenneth Frazier thinks "the industry needs to communicate better with the outside world." For one, the difference isn't clear between list prices and effective prices, and he also thinks people need to focus on the amount patients pay through copays. "The amount of insurance effectively creates a huge issue for patients at the pharmacy counter," he said.
The way Teva's ($TEVA) generics CEO, Siggi Olafsson, sees it, "there's a lot of talk about inflations" in generics pricing. But the FDA is still backed up with more generic approval applications than it's been able to process, and if it could catch up, that would make a material difference for the Israeli generics giant, he said. "If the FDA starts to approve products faster, we will have a net benefit from that versus the pricing pressure that we experience," he said.