Pfizer CEO says Clinton
plan to curb drug prices would hurt consumers
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[September 09, 2016]
By Ransdell Pierson
(Reuters) - Pfizer Inc's chief executive on
Thursday said recent proposals by Democratic presidential candidate
Hillary Clinton to curb "unjustified" U.S. drug prices would dampen
investment in innovative new drugs and ultimately hurt consumers.
"(They) would be very negative for innovation," Ian Read said in
webcast from the annual Wells Fargo healthcare conference in Boston.
He said Clinton's proposals, if ever approved, would be a step
toward a one-payer government system of price controls on
Critics of the pharmaceutical industry have long argued that
drugmakers unfairly raise prices at will, making their products
increasingly less accessible to patients. Drugmakers counter that it
can cost $1 billion dollars or more to develop the typical drug and
say they need to be reimbursed for the costs and risk-taking.
Read said he did not believe price controls like those seen in
Europe would occur in the United States.
"A lot depends on the composition of the Senate and House," he
added, referring to whether Republicans continue to dominate at
least one branch of Congress and can be a counterweight to a
potential Clinton White House.
Clinton last week said that if elected to the White House she would
create an oversight panel to protect U.S. consumers from large price
hikes on long-available, lifesaving drugs and to import alternative
treatments if necessary, adding to her pledges to rein in overall
She said the oversight panel would be able to levy fines and impose
penalties on manufacturers when there has been an unjustified
"outlier" price increase on a long-available or generic drug,
meaning an especially high increase.
Clinton cited Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC's 5,000 percent price
increase for AIDS drug Daraprim and Mylan NV’s repeated steep price
increases on its EpiPen device for severe allergy sufferers as
troubling examples of price hikes that have attracted bipartisan
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Read on Thursday said patients are increasingly confused about
actual drug prices because pharmacy benefit managers require
drugmakers to pay ever-higher, typically confidential, rebates to
get their drugs on insurance company formularies. Moreover,
drugstores and distributors also take their cut of profit.
He predicted pharmaceutical companies and such intermediaries will
eventually agree to modify the system to make pricing more
Brent Saunders, chief executive of Allergan Inc, on Wednesday also
faulted Clinton's proposals, saying in a free market it would be
difficult for an oversight panel to determine fair prices.
(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Tom Brown, Bernard Orr)
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