Brainstorm Health: Big Pharma Price Increases, Apple Aetna Health App, Medicare for All


Image result for Brainstorm Health: Big Pharma Price Increases, Apple Aetna Health App, Medicare for AllHello, readers.

With another presidential election cycle already upon us (brace yourselves), drug pricing is going to be a front and center issue yet again. And big pharma companies appear to be acknowledging both that reality, and the deeper wake-up call, that increasing list prices ad nauseum isn’t exactly a winning business strategy over the long term.

As we’ve reported on numerous occasions, drug makers haven’t exactly been shy about raising prices even in the face of widespread public backlash to the strategy. But newly minted Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla may have signaled a shift in that trend during a somber earnings call on Tuesday.

Bourla essentially admitted that a strategy of price increases and M&A wouldn’t be enough to prop up the company’s bottom line. That growth must come from the bread and butter of the pharma industry, he said – innovative new products that can increase Pfizer’s market share. That becomes an increasingly critical goal as key Pfizer drugs like Lyrica bleed market share to generic competitors.

Specifically, Bourla said that price increases simply wouldn’t cut it in the U.S. or abroad, for both political and underlying business reasons. That appears to be a reality that other companies like Johnson & Johnson and Allergan are also coming to terms with; a significant expansion of the customer base, or truly landmark new products, or (ideally) a combination of both, will have to be the solution to big pharma’s devastating ROI problem.

The specter of the 2020 presidential campaign will undoubtedly shape these industry leaders’ positions as well, with politicians from both sides of the aisle (including President Donald Trump) sharply critical of drug price increases.