Politics

Biopharma shares rally as Donald Trump scores a stunning upset

As a candidate for president, Hillary Clinton’s tweets about reining in rising drug prices helped ice over shares for biotech companies over the course of the year. And now that she’s been defeated by Donald Trump, investors are responding by driving shares up in relief that it will be the Republican that will have his hands on healthcare policy.

The Nasdaq biotech index surged more than 5% this morning, indicating that investors are glad to see the threat of more aggressive federal initiatives disappear with Trump’s election. And the pharma giants got a boost as well, with surging stock prices for Roche, Sanofi and Pfizer, up a whopping 7% in premarket trading.

“Trump doesn’t have big health-care plans,” Christophe Eggmann, a fund manager at GAM Holding AG in Zurich, told Bloomberg Wednesday. “The only thing he was talking about was repealing Obamacare. But all the proposals from Hillary Clinton that could have affected drug pricing and companies — this is not going to happen.”

Trump’s position on healthcare was simple: Repeal Obamacare and replace it with a new system. There will likely be plenty of debate over that now — but perhaps little to threaten drug makers — though Trump did occasionally raise high drug prices as an issue on the campaign trail. He has endorsed the idea of allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and also liked the idea of allowing consumers to import cheaper meds. But he never precisely laid out a plan on drug prices, leaving the industry guessing on what might lie ahead in a Trump administration.

Investors, though, seem to feel they dodged a bullet. Umer Raffat, EvercoreISI analyst, noted “In my investor survey this morning (~100 responses thus far), investors believe odds of a major drug pricing reform have gone way down.”

Clinton, however, had been careful to position herself as a champion of the little guy in the face of drug companies that were often guilty of price gouging. Emails from her campaign, which we reported on regularly, trumpeted the way her tweet attacking Martin Shkreli for his move at Turing resonated in the media. But behind the scenes, campaign staffers were careful to calibrate the attack, avoiding an all-out assault on the industry.

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RAPS Regulatory Convergence 2017