Perspectives: Pharma’s Bound To Price Coronavirus Vaccine Out Of Americans’ Reach. Government Must Take Action.
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
Orlando Sentinel/Tampa Bay Tribune:
Government Must Act To Control COVID-19 Vaccine Cost
When I was only 13 years old, my parents bore the crushing financial burden of my sickle cell anemia and end-stage renal disease care. This medical and financial hardship has followed me into my 30s, and now impacts my own family that I’m raising in Jacksonville as the pharmaceutical companies demand exorbitant prices for the drugs that make it possible for me to care for my daughter. (Clayton "DJ" Martin, 5/26)
It’s Time To Talk About COVID-19 Prices
The relentless march of COVID-19 across the globe has laid bare an agonizing truth: with no vaccine and only nascent treatment options beyond supportive care, the virus can be kept at bay only with the most draconian of non-medical measures. “Self-quarantine” and “social distancing” are now a part of the common vernacular. Fortunately, there is widespread awareness of the gap to be filled between the tools we have now and the tools we must develop to put the worst of the pandemic behind us. The biopharmaceutical industry has moved with unheard-of speed; more than 250 clinical trials around COVID-19 are underway in the United States alone, and dozens of vaccine candidates are being explored. (Robert W. Dubois, 5/20)
Biopharma Companies Are Taking Advantage Of Their Misinformation
As Covid-19 upends the world, people are putting their faith in the biopharma industry to save us from this crisis. Retail investors are pouring into biopharma stocks, and when any data are released on Covid-19-related vaccines or therapies, entire markets move — even if the news from the company isn’t entirely straightforward.Many biopharma companies (especially American ones) are benefiting from the Covid-19 pandemic. (Travis Whitfill, 5/26)
Moderna Vaccine Whiplash Demands Better Data Disclosure
Interpreting drug trial data releases is difficult in the best of circumstances. And usually, it's just a problem for the subset of investors who focus on the sector. In the middle of a pandemic, a whole world is throwing money around on press releases, and it's making a mess of expectations and the market. U.S. stocks soared Monday on the publication of early human vaccine data from Moderna Inc., only to reverse course Tuesday after an article from the excellent health news publication Stat highlighted its limits and the long and highly uncertain path ahead. It’s similar to what happened in late April, when markets reacted and retrenched after a limited rollout of results from a trial of Gilead Science's Inc.'s virus treatment remdesivir. It was enough to get the drug approved on a limited basis, but doctors and investors alike are still waiting for something more than a basic analysis weeks later. (Max Nisen, 5/20)
Gilead Gets An Upgrade With Street Mulling Remdesivir Profit
The latest look at Gilead Sciences Inc.’s treatment for Covid-19 has Wall Street analysts contemplating profit, some for the first time. After initial donations run out, Gilead could be making commercial revenue from remdesivir as soon as the third quarter, SunTrust analyst Robyn Karnauskas said after speaking to management including the biotech’s chief financial officer. (Cristin Flanagan, 5/26)
Prescription Drug Costs Would Have Been A Major Campaign Issue, So What Will Happen Now That Coronavirus Is Center Stage?
It’s no secret that Americans pay more for prescription drugs than any other developed nation in the world. Per capita spending exceeds $1,000 a year; the Germans and French pay about half that. For many drugs, prices are dramatically higher than the international average: Dulera, an asthma drug, costs 50 times more, while Januvia, a drug for diabetes, and Combigan, a glaucoma drug, cost about 10 times more. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have recognized this problem. President Donald Trump has called the situation “wrong” and “unfair”; presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has called to end the “abuse of power” by drug companies while his former competitor Sen. Bernie Sanders has complained about “unfettered capitalism” and “greed.” (Simon F. Haeder, 5/25)
COVID-19 Drug Pricing: A Pivotal Point For Pharma
As the nation struggles to get ahead of the curve in a life-or-death fight against the newest in a series of deadly viruses, other important healthcare issues have taken a back seat. We can't afford to lose sight of these issues -- particularly when the pandemic creates opportunities to address them in a different context. Case in point: the pharmaceutical industry's much disputed influence over drug prices in the U.S. and around the world. (David Nash, 4/28)
The Wall Street Journal:
Johnson & Johnson Takes A Powder
If you want Johnson & Johnson baby powder, stock up now or prepare to travel overseas. On Tuesday the company announced it will discontinue sales in the U.S. and Canada of talcum-based baby powder, which it has sold since 1894. America’s litigation-friendly legal system has subjected the company to a flood of baby-powder lawsuits, making it too expensive to sell in the U.S. The first wave of lawsuits alleged that the product caused ovarian cancer—a claim the best medical science doesn’t support. (James R. Copland, 5/22)