Taking a cue from AbbVie’s playbook, Teva is the latest drugmaker to walk away from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).
“Teva has decided not to renew its membership with PhRMA in 2023,” Brian Newell, spokesperson for the influential lobbying group, said over email. Teva also confirmed its departure in a statement provided to Fierce Pharma.
As with AbbVie in December, Teva’s rationale wasn’t immediately clear. Teva is the leading producer of generic drugs worldwide, but the company also markets branded medicines such as migraine prevention med Ajovy and Austedo for tardive dyskinesia.
“We annually review effectiveness and value of engagements, consultants and memberships to ensure our investments are properly seated,” a Teva spokesperson explained over email. “We continue to remain engaged—in DC and around the world—on the issues important to our company and to the millions of patients who rely on our products.”
Stat News first reported Teva’s departure on Thursday.
One way the company will likely stay engaged in Washington is through the Association for Accessible Medicines, where Teva’s senior vice president for the U.S., Christine Baeder, is heir apparent to chair the generic drug lobby’s board of directors, Stat News points out.
When Teva put in a bid to join PhRMA back in 2016, the move proved controversial with certain branded drug makers. An AbbVie executive, for instance, argued in a letter seen by The New York Times that Teva’s admission would dilute the association’s “emphasis on innovation."
But despite Teva’s generics acumen, the company has charted major success with brand-name drugs, too.
While Teva’s PhRMA membership was contentious from the start, AbbVie’s departure late last year proved even more mystifying.
Peddling a similar line as Teva, AbbVie in December told Fierce Pharma that it “regularly evaluate[s] our memberships with industry trade associations and our most recent assessment led us to decide not to renew our membership with select trade associations.”
Alongside its departure from PhRMA, AbbVie also exited the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, plus the Business Roundtable.
AbbVie’s departure may be related, in part, to the passage of Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which will soon allow Medicare to negotiate the prices of certain medicines. Last summer, PhRMA President and CEO Stephen Ubl called the Senate’s decision to pass the bill a “tragic loss for patients” based on a “litany of false promises.”
AbbVie’s CEO Richard Gonzalez has also gone on the IRA attack, arguing that rather than negotiations, the bill imposes “price controls.”
Now, as Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan prepares to chair the powerful trade group, PhRMA’s post-IRA ambitions have become a bit clearer.
Speaking on a press call earlier this week, Narasimhan outlined three “core priorities” for the biopharma industry as IRA is being rolled out.
One is to “correct” the distinction that'll enable the government to negotiate prices on small-molecule drugs after just nine years on the market, which is four years faster than negotiations will kick in for large-molecule biologics.
Narasimhan also stressed the need for pharmacy benefit manager reform, plus increased scrutiny of hospital profits, specifically calling for continued efforts to improve the U.S. government’s 340B drug program.