Dec 12, 2023

Big Pharma Continues Pushing Myth That Solutions to Lower Rx Prices Will Hamper Innovation, While Trumpeting Robust and Growing Innovation Pipelines to Investors

Big Pharma is having trouble keeping its story straight. While the pharmaceutical industry continues to falsely argue that legislation designed to lower prescription drug prices by holding them accountable will undermine innovation, it simultaneously continues to trumpet to investors and stakeholders a robust and growing pipeline of new medicines under development.

This past week, during a panel discussion hosted by The Hill, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) President Stephen J. Ubl reiterated Big Pharma’s oft-repeated hyperbolic rhetoric about the threat to innovation, saying, “We’re already seeing a flight of those research projects being cancelled within our R&D pipeline. So, this is a really acute problem that’s going to really impact the fabric of incremental innovation.”

But just last month, PhRMA released a report accidentally proving that the innovation pipeline for serious conditions, like cancer, has actually grown since the passage of legislation they claim will hamper breakthroughs. PhRMA’s report showed there are 300 more cancer medicines in development now than in December 2020.

That tricky tap dance is also tripping up PhRMA’s members eager to generate buzz with investors and stakeholders about their innovation pipeline, while forgetting the industry line on the dangers of holding them accountable.

In an exclusive interview with STAT News last week, Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson and the company’s head of research and development (R&D) Houman Ashrafian highlighted 12 new drugs the company is developing that they believe, “could generate annual sales of $2 billion or more.” Both executives also emphasized that three of those new medicines, “could eventually generate more than $5 billion in annual sales.” While the drugs Hudson and Ashrafian highlighted were for a range of conditions, Hudson hinted that Sanofi has even more drugs coming down the pipeline.

And while Sanofi was boasting about having 12 new potential blockbusters in its pipeline, Johnson and Johnson’s Executive Vice President of Innovative Medicine John Reed, in an exclusive interview with Endpoints News, was also highlighting how that Big Pharma giant is, “promising investors 20 new drugs and 50 expanded products, including 10 with peak sales of $5 billion or more.” Serious conditions, like blood cancers, will be a particular focus in the company’s pipeline, as Endpoints News notes, “[m]uch of J&J’s projected growth will come in hematology.”

For all the apocalyptic predictions from the industry claiming drug pricing solutions would destroy innovation, Big Pharma sure seems set on selling the breadth and vitality of its R&D pipeline to investors. It’s a reminder the industry’s innovation rhetoric is bogus.

Read more about how Big Pharma’s innovation rhetoric doesn’t match the facts HERE.

And learn more about market-based solutions to hold Big Pharma accountable and lower prescription drug prices HERE.