Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca CEO (Justin Tallis/Press Association via AP Images)

As­traZeneca CEO calls open­ing IRA drug price of­fer 'rel­a­tive­ly en­cour­ag­ing' in first char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of talks

The gov­ern­ment’s first of­fer to As­traZeneca un­der the IRA’s drug price ne­go­ti­a­tions that be­gan this month is “rel­a­tive­ly en­cour­ag­ing,” CEO Pas­cal So­ri­ot said Thurs­day, at least com­pared with the in­dus­try’s low ex­pec­ta­tions.

“What we’ve seen is rel­a­tive­ly en­cour­ag­ing come back from CMS,” So­ri­ot said dur­ing a press event with re­porters timed with the UK com­pa­ny’s quar­ter­ly earn­ings re­sults.

The word “rel­a­tive­ly” may be a cru­cial caveat from So­ri­ot, giv­en that the drug in­dus­try had been brac­ing for a very low first of­fer. But the re­marks are the first char­ac­ter­i­za­tion by any drug­mak­ers whose prod­ucts are on the list for price ne­go­ti­a­tions with the US gov­ern­ment. Drug­mak­ers have al­most en­tire­ly re­frained from com­ment­ing, not want­i­ng to be drawn in­to a pub­lic back-and-forth with a Biden ad­min­is­tra­tion that has made drug costs a ma­jor part of its agen­da.

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