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Clinton takes aim at pharma pricing once again

Pledges to establish new enforcement powers to address “unjustified price hikes”
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US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has laid out a series of proposals that promise to tackle "unjustified price hikes for long-available drugs".

The plans come in response to recent pricing scandals - notably Mylan raising the price of the EpiPen (epinephrine) by more than 400% - but promise to be more wide-ranging.

In a briefing document, Clinton suggests excessive price rises are "not an isolated problem", claiming that between 2008 and 2015 pharma companies increased the prices of almost 400 generic drugs by over 1,000%.

The Democratic candidate says that if elected as president she will take steps to ensure consumer representation of public health and competition agencies that will examine 'outlier' price increases, with particular scrutiny of the trajectory of price increases, the cost of production and the relative value to patients.

If a price increase is unjustified, new enforcement powers will allow the situation to be addressed quickly by making alternative products available, either by supporting other companies to enter the market or encouraging "emergency importation".

There is no mention of federal funding for those measures. However, the proposals suggest companies deemed to have crossed the line will be held accountable with new penalties, such as fines or enforced rebates, which could be used to "expand access and competition".

"It's wrong when drug companies put profits ahead of patients, with unjustified price increases not for new innovations, but for long-available and generic treatments," Clinton asserted.

She added: "We need rules of the road so fair competition keeps them in check."

Clinton's objectives in pharma have unsettled biopharma share prices in recent months, and there was another fall in the Nasdaq biotechnology index on Friday after the proposals were announced.

The plans sit alongside other initiatives to reduce drug prices in the US that were introduced last September, which would include allowing the federal Medicare programme to negotiate prices, capping monthly drug costs, and ensuring drug companies invest in research and innovation rather than marketing.

Article by
Phil Taylor

5th September 2016

From: Sales

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