Big Pharma Exec Downplays “Modest” Drug Pricing Solutions That CEO Previously Claimed Would Reduce R&D and Called “Gun to Your Head”

Big Pharma can’t seem to keep its story straight. The pharmaceutical industry continues to accidentally debunk its own doom-and-gloom rhetoric insisting solutions to lower drug prices by holding brand name drug companies accountable will gut innovation.

On Monday, while speaking to investors at the TD Cowen Health Care Conference, Pfizer Chief Financial Officer David Denton downplayed solutions passed by Congress in 2022 to hold brand name drug companies accountable and lower drug prices, describing their impact as “modest.”

Huh? Less than one year ago Pfizer was among the Big Pharma giants breathlessly claiming the same measures would devastate research and development (R&D) for new cures.

In 2023, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla commented the policies were akin to the government putting “a gun to your head.” Bourla also claimed the solutions would “force the industry to reduce R&D.”

The flip flop from Pfizer is just the latest example of Big Pharma being repeatedly caught crying wolf over innovation to policymakers, while undermining their own claims by touting robust, and unimpeded innovation pipelines to Wall Street and other stakeholders.

During a December panel discussion hosted by The Hill, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) President Stephen J. Ubl reiterated Big Pharma’s 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 the previous 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.

Executives for other Big Pharma giants, like Johnson and Johnson and Sanofi, have similarly touted the strength of their innovation pipeline to investors, after making apocalyptic claims on the impact drug pricing solutions would have on R&D.

It should all be a reminder to policymakers that Big Pharma’s rhetoric on innovation is a hyperbolic scare tactic disconnected from reality.

Read more about how Big Pharma’s innovation rhetoric doesn’t hold up to scrutiny HERE.

Read more about how Big Pharma increased its R&D investments after the passage of drug pricing solutions HERE.

Read more about how Big Pharma’s innovation tap dance has the industry tripping over its own rhetoric HERE.

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

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