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Energy Boardroom

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Trump and Pharma: A Mixed Bag

While pledging to lower drug prices has proved popular, the Trump administration’s proposed FDA reform has been getting some pharmaceutical executives worried.

In a meeting with Big Pharma CEOs at the end of January; US President Donald Trump called for drug prices to be lowered, US production of medicines to be increased, other countries to pay “their fair share” for US-made drugs, and the FDA’s drug approval process to be streamlined. The executives present made the case for preferential tax reform.

When PharmaBoardroom asked its readers on whether Trump was correct to say that US drug prices were too high, an overwhelming 78 percent felt that he was. Unlike some of his more controversial political moves, the lowering of drug prices has broad support across the political spectrum in the US, with Democrat Senator Bernie Sanders conceding that Trump was “right” to say that the industry has been “getting away with murder” in this regard.

Chart_Q1_170216

Source: PharmaBoardroom Poll

FDA reform, part of Trump’s wider promise to roll back government regulations at least 75 percent, may seem highly beneficial to the pharma industry in that it would allow quicker market access for their medicines. However, there have been worried rumblings from top executives that a less robust FDA would make it harder for companies to secure insurance coverage for new drugs.

“It is one thing to get a drug approved, but you have got to get reimbursed.”

Paul Perreault, CSL Ltd

CEO of biotech company CSL Ltd Paul Perreault points out that, “It is one thing to get a drug approved, but you have got to get reimbursed;” this reimbursement will not happen unless payers are given evidence that a new drug is better than what is currently on the market.

In terms of our readers’ thoughts on what Trump’s administration means for the industry at large, opinions were split down the middle. Just under 52% of respondents felt that Trump is a threat to the pharma industry, while around 48% felt that he is not.

Chart_Q2_170216

Source: PharmaBoardroom Poll

Lower drug prices seem to be a broadly popular move in the US. However, FDA reform and Trump’s general unpredictability mean that the industry outlook remains cloudy moving forward.

Writer: Patrick Burton

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