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 The leading web portal for pharmacy resources, news, education and careers November 24, 2017
Pharmacy Choice - Pharmaceutical News - Pharma exec says industry must get fair about pricing new drugs [Boston Herald] - November 24, 2017

Pharmacy News Article

 5/19/17 - Pharma exec says industry must get fair about pricing new drugs [Boston Herald]

May 19The head of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is warning the controversy surrounding drug prices could cripple the country's pharma industry if companies don't start to lower prices on their own.

"Drug pricing has the potential to be the undoing of our industry. We're not getting it right," said Leonard Schleifer, chief executive of Regeneron, speaking yesterday at the Boston College Chief Executives Club.

Regeneron, based in New York, recently received FDA approval for a new drug to treat atopic dermatitis, a form of eczema that can be severe enough to lead to sleeplessness and depression. The company and its development partner Sanofi made waves when they negotiated the price directly with insurers before it was approved. The new drug will cost $37,000, less than other similar injectable treatments for skin conditions.

"This is very urgent that we start behaving as an industry in a way that the public feels it's getting drugs that represent the value we're charging for them," Schleifer told the Herald after the event. "We tended to get out of whack, the drugs weren't all that great, the prices were not matched well to what they were doing."

Soaring drug prices have drawn the attention and ire of state and federal lawmakers, intent on reigning in costs. Both Republicans and Democrats have blasted rising prices, and President Trump has repeatedly vowed to take action.

The problem, Schleifer said, is not limited to investors looking to make a quick buck by buying an existing company and then raising the price of a life-saving drug to astronomical levels. Schleifer has been one of the most outspoken critics of drug prices from within the industry. Last year, he and another pharma CEO broke out into a shouting match at a conference panel over drug pricing.

"When people every year are raising their prices by 15 percent, that's where we get in trouble," Schleifer said.

Schleifer also said he is confident lawmakers and the Trump administration will find a way to fund the National Institutes of Health, preserving the billions of dollars of research funding that gets pumped into the biotech industry every year. The NIH is fully funded in the budget deal passed and signed earlier this year, but early versions of Trump's budget called for drastic cuts.

"I hope that in a bipartisan way people will understand one of the great treasures of this country is our biomedical research complex, which starts at the NIH and goes all the way up to companies like Regeneron," Schleifer said.


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