Welcome to the FiercePharma political roundup, where each week we’ll highlight developments in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere that could affect how drugmakers operate.
It might not come as a surprise for many pharma watchers, but a new GlobalData survey found drug pricing and reimbursement remain the industry's top concern for 2020. In the survey, 49% of respondents said pricing and reimbursement is their top worry for the year.
Behind drug pricing, 14% of respondents said they're concerned about the U.S. political divide, while other threats included Amazon and biologics patent expirations.
It’s “not surprising” pricing remains the top concern, GlobalData’s pharma head Bonnie Bain said in a statement, “especially since 2020 kicked off with drug companies in the U.S. again raising prices for several hundred drugs.”
This year’s price hikes are expected to average 5%, compared with 6.3% last year, she said. And while lawmakers talk up their ambitions for lowering costs, Bain said she believes “additional efforts to lower prices will likely stall for now due to the looming impeachment trial for President Trump.”
And if you needed a reminder about how political drug pricing has become, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders tweeted about a forthcoming medicine from BioMarin Pharmaceutical last week. He highlighted BioMarin's plan to price its new hemophilia gene therapy between $2 million and $3 million and asked his supporters if they feel “grateful.” The senator said Big Pharma generated $69 billion in profits last year, and that was “just not enough.”
Don't you feel grateful? The world’s most expensive drug is coming out—$2-3 million a pop.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 17, 2020
$69 billion in annual profits were just not enough for Big Pharma.
BioMarin should lose its patent monopoly for this price-gouging. Under our legislation, it will. https://t.co/bXvykhDW17
Elsewhere, after Maryland fell short in its effort to take on generic drug “price gouging” with new legislation, Rhode Island is forging ahead. A court previously struck down Maryland's law, but that’s not stopping Rhode Island from pursuing its own measure, Stat reports.