Exercise Can Prevent Dementia; Why Pharma Companies Should Care

Posted by David Perritt on Aug 11, 2017 11:30:00 AM


Alzheimer’s is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease characterized by memory loss and impaired cognition, with as many as 5.4 million Americans living with the disease.  Today Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the 5th leading cause for those 65 and older.  The symptoms of Alzheimer's slowly creep into our lives and affect loved ones in profound ways.  Throughout the years, research and medications have helped, hindered and or even prevented some of the serious symptoms, but currently, there is no cure.

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Topics: Pharma and Politics

Can Higher Drug Prices Lower Healthcare Costs?

Posted by Brian James on May 11, 2017 9:33:00 AM

Of course, if you can get the same medication for less, that is better, but what if switching to a newer more expensive drug actually saved money?  Recently I had the pleasure of moderating a panel at the Outsourced Pharma conference in Boston that was focused on cost and price pressures in the pharma industry. Based on the nodding heads in the audience, I think it is fair to say that our industry has an image problem.  While I cannot and will not try to defend some of the more recent high-profile cases that have garnered media attention, there is certainly a case to be made that not all pricing is gouging patients.

Last week the Chicago Tribune highlighted a Blue Cross Report that squarely blames pharma companies for high drug prices.  According to the report, member plans spent 73 percent more on prescription drugs in 2016 than in 2010, attributed to "large year-over-year price increases" for new drugs that are protected from competition by patents.  in addition, the report highlighted the increase in consumer spending on drugs noting that consumers have been paying 3 percent more a year, out-of-pocket, for all prescription drugs but 18 percent more a year for patented drugs."

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Topics: Pharma Pricing, Pharma and Politics

Direct to Consumer Pharma Marketing - Good or Bad?

Posted by Brian James on Apr 20, 2017 11:21:17 AM

There are only two countries in the world that allow for the marketing of pharmaceutical products directly to potential patients, the United States and New Zealand.  One must wonder why, if it such a great idea, that it isn't more commonly allowed.  Well maybe it isn't such a good idea, or maybe there is a compromise.

In 2015 US pharmaceutical companies spent 5.2 billion dollars on direct to consumer (DTC) marketing.  Proponents of DTC contend that the ads inform patients about diseases and possible treatments and encourage people to seek medical advice. Opponents contend that ads misinform patients, promote drugs before long-term safety profiles can be known and stigmatize normal conditions like wrinkles and low testosterone.

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Topics: Pharma and Politics

Want to Practice Medicine?  Become a Lawyer

Posted by Brian James on Apr 3, 2017 11:25:00 AM

Before you think I'm jaded, let me share a little perspective.  Some years ago I was an undergraduate, working as an Emergency Medical Technician in a rural emergency room, a bright-eyed aspiring doctor to be.  During a break in the action of a long night shift I was chatting with the MD and he asked me point blank “why do you want to be a doctor?”  I was caught by surprise, and I mumbled something about helping people in need--isn't that the only real reason to go to medical school?

The MD looked me straight in the eye and told me,

“if you want to practice medicine, go to law school.”

Life changes, as life has a way of doing, and I never attended medical school after all--I earned a graduate degree in chemistry and I am very happy with my choices.  But thinking back on that conversation, I think the doctor was right.

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Topics: Pharma and Politics

New Genes Associated with Autism:  How Can Pharma Help?

Posted by David Perritt on Mar 23, 2017 11:20:00 AM

I have a 4-year son.  When my wife and I found out our child was a boy we were over the moon with excitement.  We already have a girl, and we wanted a boy.  Feelings of luck, fortune, gratitude and love filled our home with anticipation.

During her pregnancy, my wife and I were approached by the doctor with a suggestion of genetic testing.  As the doctor stated, statistically there is a rise in genetic disorders with our “advanced” age in conjunction with an increase of autism in boys.

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Topics: Pharma and Politics

President Gutting the FDA? Impact on Drug Development and Approval

Posted by Shelly James on Mar 9, 2017 1:45:00 PM

President Trump has made clear his desire to lower or even eliminate regulatory barriers for businesses; now he has brought this mandate to the door of the FDA as well.  In a recent meeting at the White House, President Trump notified pharmaceutical leaders that his administration would reduce taxes, regulations, and streamline the product approval process.  In turn, the pharmaceutical industry is expected to lower drug prices and bring manufacturing jobs to the United States.

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Topics: Pharma and Politics

Drug Costs and Accountability in Our Changing Climate

Posted by Shelly James on Mar 2, 2017 11:23:00 AM

“I’m going to bring down drug prices,” Trump told Time magazine, “I don’t like what has happened with drug prices.”

Although biotech and pharmaceutical stocks initially rose after the election, the budding optimism drug makers enjoyed rapidly faded with Trump's comments regarding drug prices.  President Trump is not the only one concerned about drug pricing in the United States.  The increasing cost of prescription drugs has become a source of concern for patients, prescribers, payers, and policy makers. 

Public outrage has intensified over recent decisions by companies to levy significant cost increases, such as the EpiPen pricing scandal.  Even pharmaceutical executives are feeling the sting over drug pricing.  Recently, Chief Executive Officer Leonard Schleifer of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Ian Read of Pfizer Inc. have argued over the role of drug pricing in the pharmaceutical industry.  Schleifer’s comment to Read over the cost of drugs: “You’re not entitled to a fraction of the GDP.”

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Topics: Pharma and Politics