Which presidential candidate will best serve Big Pharma’s interests? Pfizer chief Ian Read has thought about it--and he honestly can’t figure it out.
Read can’t “at this moment distinguish between the policies that Donald Trump may support or those that Hillary Clinton may support,” he said at last week’s Sanford Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference, as quoted by The Intercept.
Fair point, the publication notes. Both Trump and Clinton have endorsed the idea of allowing Medicare to negotiate for cheaper drug prices--one that drugmakers don’t much like. But both presidential hopefuls have also backed efforts the healthcare industry supports; Clinton, for one, put her weight behind legislation that extended the data exclusivity period for biologics, making it harder for copycats to bring their products to market.
What Read is more concerned with, though, is which party will take the reins in Congress, with Republican leaders traditionally coming out as more protective of drug company profits. “I’m sort of more focused really on understanding where the House control is going to be and where the Senate control is going to be,” Read said.
No surprise there. Last September, Read told Evercore ISI analyst Mark Schoenebaum that Clinton's slate of new proposals for cracking down on drug-pricing weren't likely to pass muster in Congress.
And keeping an eye on Congress is nothing new for Read, who for years had his sights set on closing a tax inversion deal. “You'd rather do it in a Congress where you do know who are setting the rules and what the rules are," he said last October.
Of course, pulling the trigger pre-election season didn’t end up helping the pharma giant pull off such a deal. After striking a $160 billion-dollar pact with Allergan--only to see it shot down by the U.S. Treasury--the Pfizer skipper said at the Bernstein conference that he’s done with tax inversions.
Megamergers, though, are another story. “If you believe you can reorganize your research into productive smaller units, there is a logic to consolidation of the industry by taking out duplicative expenses,” especially if the two companies can squeeze out some serious savings, Read said, as quoted by Bloomberg.
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