DOSE OF REALITY: Big Pharma’s True Track Record Is A Hard Pill To Swallow – Part II
In advance of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance hearing on February 26, 2019, the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP) is releasing a blog series on what lawmakers can expect to hear from the seven pharma executives who will attend – and why their rhetoric rings hollow when measured against their companies’ track record.
We’re taking a look at the unkept pledges, proclamations and promises made by Big Pharma that lawmakers should be prepared to confront with a “dose of reality.”
Last week, we examined the record of AbbVie compared to the rhetoric of CEO Richard Gonzalez.
Today, we will look at the rhetoric of AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot compared to his company’s track record.
ASTRAZENECA CEO PASCAL SORIOT:
- “We Follow The Science. We Put Patients First. We Play To Win. We Do The Right Thing. We Are Entrepreneurial.” (“Our Company,” AstraZeneca, Accessed 1/16/19)
- “We Aim To Improve Access To Healthcare And Deliver Our Medicines, Services And Education To Patients Around The World By Tailoring Our Programmes To The Communities They Will Serve. In Some Cases, This Means Looking At Pricing; In Others It Involves Overcoming Other Barriers To Healthcare.” (“Our Company,” AstraZeneca, Accessed 1/16/19)
- “Fundamentally, This Industry Can Only Create Shareholder Value By Creating Value For Patients. It’s Pretty Simple. If You Don’t Come Up With Medicines That Help Patients, There Is No Way You Can Have A Sustainable Business Creating Value For Shareholders.” (Matthew Herper, “AstraZeneca CEO On His Predecessors, Rivals, And Pfizer,” Forbes, 6/3/14)
- As AstraZeneca Faced Generic Competition To Its High Cholesterol Drug Crestor, Its “Price Was Increased Several Times Before The Generic Came Out … Including By About 15 Percent Right Before.” “AstraZeneca’s AZN, -0.08% drug Crestor, another of the drugs featured in the report, is a popular but expensive drug that treats high cholesterol. In 2016, when the drug first got a new generic rival, the branded product cost about $300 a month without insurance coverage. The price was increased several times before the generic came out … including by about 15% right before. (AstraZeneca said it could not comment because it was not involved in the study.)” (Emma Court, “Big Pharma Games The System To Make Generic Drugs More Expensive,” MarketWatch, 8/3/18)
- AstraZeneca’s Pricing Strategy Served To Create “A New, Higher Baseline Price When The Generic Hits The Market.”(Tori Marsh, “Prices For Brand Drugs Spike Before A Generic Is Released. Here’s Why.,” GoodRx, 7/27/18)
- After Increasing Drug Prices By As Much As Nine Percent, On A 2018 Earnings Call, Soriot Insisted The Company Was “Sensitive” To Drug Pricing Concerns And Said It Had Raised “Wholesale Prices Earlier [That] Year By ‘Very, Very Modest’ Amounts.” “During an earnings conference call, the AstraZeneca chief executive disclosed the company would not raise prices in the U.S. for the rest of year. Other drug makers have taken the same step in response to pressure from the Trump administration, but he insisted this was ‘our plan … all along’ … He maintained AstraZeneca was sensitive to the problem by raising wholesale prices earlier this year by ‘very, very modest’ amounts, ‘between 1 and 3 percent’ which, he said, was ‘in line with inflation.’” (Ed Silverman, “When Modest Is Actually Excessive: AstraZeneca Spins Its Price Hikes,” STAT News, 7/26/18)
Stay tuned for our next blog tomorrow comparing another pharma CEO’s rhetoric to the reality. In the meantime:
CLICK HERE to read Big Pharma’s True Track Record Is A Hard Pill To Swallow: Part I.
CLICK HERE to read about the real impact Big Pharma’s price gouging is having on patients across the country.