Perspectives: 2018 Was Marked By Robust Profits For Biopharma, So What’s Ahead In The New Year?
Editorial pages focus on these health care topics and others.
Pharma’s 2019 Outlook, From Drug Prices To Fish-Oil Frenzy
For the biopharma industry, 2018 was a year marked by generally robust profits and a handful of superlatives. These include Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.’s $62 billion bid for Shire Plc — the biggest announced drug deal in more than a decade — as well as a record number of approvals of new and generic medicines by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the most aggressive drug-pricing proposal to ever emerge from a Republican administration. No promises on another megadeal in 2019, but I can guarantee that drug pricing will still be a thing. (Max Nisen, 2/27)
Delivering New Gene Therapy To Patients Almost As Hard As Making It
After a career spent in pharmaceutical commercial strategy and operations, I thought I had a handle on what was required to launch a new therapy. But I’ve learned many lessons — and faced a few curveballs — in the 12 months since the FDA approved Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec), a one-time gene therapy for the treatment of patients with vision loss due to inherited retinal dystrophy caused by confirmed biallelic RPE65 mutations and who have sufficient viable retinal cells. (Ron Philip, 12/19)
China's Drug Market Is No Longer A Free Lunch
There may be such a thing as a free lunch in China's pharmaceutical industry. It turns out it's not an unlimited buffet, though. For years, the country's largest drugmakers have happily sold low-cost generic medicines yielding gross margins of 80 percent to 90 percent without giving much thought to consumer protection or innovation. It’s not uncommon for pharma companies to spend one-third of their revenue on sales and marketing, while shelling out peanuts on research and development of new drugs. (Shuli Ren, 1/1)
Pharmacy Benefit Managers Can Still Game The System Despite Senate Attempt To Close Medicaid Loophole
On Dec. 4, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced new legislation to ensure that drug companies play by the rules of the Medicaid program. The bill is aimed at preventing drug companies from overcharging Medicaid, a practice that has been consistently costing taxpayers billions of dollars. While the legislation is an excellent indicator of future bipartisan cooperation on the issue of prescription drug affordability, much more needs to be done. (Robert Levin, 12/27)
Here's A Cheat Sheet For What To Watch In Biotech In 2019
It’s that time of year again. I’m speaking, of course, of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. Starting Monday, management teams from hundreds of biotech and pharma companies will file into the Westin St. Francis Hotel on the western side of San Francisco’s Union Square. Over four days, these executives will stride up to podiums in conference rooms large and small to pitch their company’s investment story to crowds of Wall Street investors sitting in uncomfortably close quarters. (Adam Feuerstein, 1/2)