Donut-hole discounts won't gouge Big Pharma

The Medicare discounts drugmakers negotiated with the White House and Senate aren't going to take much of a bite out of Big Pharma. As Bloomberg reports, pharma companies could deliver $2 billion in drug discounts next year--no shabby figure--but percentage-wise, the price cuts are small.

Pfizer, which tops the ranking of drug sales to seniors, stands to lose less than half of one percent of its annual revenues, according to data compiled by the news service. AstraZeneca, next in line with $400 million in Medicare sales, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, with $368 million, are also likely to lose less than one percent of overall product revenue to the new discount program. Other companies with big Medicare sales include Boehringer Ingelheim ($312 million), Novartis ($303 million) and GlaxoSmithKline ($284 million).

"This was a good deal for pharma," Les Funtleyder, an analyst at Miller Tabak & Co. told Bloomberg. The numbers "[dispute] the narrative that health care reform is bad for pharmaceuticals, and as more data emerges I think you're going to see that narrative play out across the health industry."

- read the Bloomberg piece