Pfiz­er preps a laun­dry list of drug price hikes for the New Year — let the po­lit­i­cal fire­works be­gin

Pfiz­er is billing this as a re­strained and com­plete­ly rea­son­able move, but the phar­ma gi­ant has just thrown down a gaunt­let beg­ging Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to pick it up.

Bioreg­num Opin­ion Col­umn by John Car­roll

On Fri­day af­ter­noon the phar­ma gi­ant $PFE put out a state­ment say­ing that it’s hold­ing the price line on 90% of its drug port­fo­lio come the New Year. But 41 of its drugs have been picked for a price hike on Jan­u­ary 15, av­er­ag­ing 5%. And one of those drugs, which Pfiz­er said has just been ap­proved for 2 new in­di­ca­tions af­ter ex­ten­sive R&D work, is in line for a 9% hike.

Two years ago, that news would have been greet­ed as a sign of re­mark­able mod­er­a­tion. But for ear­ly 2019, af­ter Trump has re­peat­ed­ly ex­co­ri­at­ed the ma­jors for “get­ting away with mur­der” on drug prices, it’s like­ly go­ing to be seen as a call to leg­isla­tive arms.

Just be­fore the elec­tions Trump sug­gest­ed that Medicare Part B move to im­port over­seas drug prices, hop­ing to per­suade com­pa­nies to mus­cle sin­gle pay­er sys­tems to pay more while low­er­ing the cost of ther­a­pies in the US. Ear­li­er, Trump al­so made a high pro­file call to Pfiz­er CEO Ian Read — one of the most re­sis­tant to rein­ing in price hikes — per­suad­ing him to put a planned slate of price in­creas­es on the back burn­er, at least through the end of the year. Oth­er big play­ers al­so quick­ly fol­lowed suit, though Pfiz­er re­cent­ly in­di­cat­ed that they were mov­ing back to busi­ness as usu­al come 2019.

Pfiz­er is al­so promis­ing that con­sumers shouldn’t feel much fi­nan­cial heat. Their state­ment:

These list price in­creas­es are ex­pect­ed to be off­set by high­er re­bates and dis­counts paid to In­sur­ance Com­pa­nies and Phar­ma­cy Ben­e­fit Man­agers and the net ef­fect on rev­enue growth in the U.S. in 2019 is ex­pect­ed to be ze­ro. Giv­en the high­er re­bates and dis­counts, we ex­pect that the health­care sys­tem will share those ben­e­fits with pa­tients so they do not ex­pe­ri­ence high­er costs for their med­i­cines. In 2018 the net im­pact of price in­creas­es on rev­enue growth is pro­ject­ed to be a neg­a­tive 1 per­cent in the U.S com­pared with 2017.

That’s un­like­ly to sat­is­fy the cur­rent res­i­dent in the White House, who is like­ly to view the move as a per­son­al provo­ca­tion.

The Dems, who may wind up as the strangest bed­fel­lows of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion on this is­sue, seem to see some op­por­tu­ni­ties here as well.

Health­care Dis­par­i­ties and Sick­le Cell Dis­ease

In the complicated U.S. healthcare system, navigating a serious illness such as cancer or heart disease can be remarkably challenging for patients and caregivers. When that illness is classified as a rare disease, those challenges can become even more acute. And when that rare disease occurs in a population that experiences health disparities, such as people with sickle cell disease (SCD) who are primarily Black and Latino, challenges can become almost insurmountable.

Jacob Van Naarden (Eli Lilly)

Ex­clu­sives: Eli Lil­ly out to crash the megablock­buster PD-(L)1 par­ty with 'dis­rup­tive' pric­ing; re­veals can­cer biotech buy­out

It’s taken 7 years, but Eli Lilly is promising to finally start hammering the small and affluent PD-(L)1 club with a “disruptive” pricing strategy for their checkpoint therapy allied with China’s Innovent.

Lilly in-licensed global rights to sintilimab a year ago, building on the China alliance they have with Innovent. That cost the pharma giant $200 million in cash upfront, which they plan to capitalize on now with a long-awaited plan to bust up the high-price market in lung cancer and other cancers that have created a market worth tens of billions of dollars.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

David Meek, new Mirati CEO (Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fresh off Fer­Gene's melt­down, David Meek takes over at Mi­rati with lead KRAS drug rac­ing to an ap­proval

In the insular world of biotech, a spectacular failure can sometimes stay on any executive’s record for a long time. But for David Meek, the man at the helm of FerGene’s recent implosion, two questionable exits made way for what could be an excellent rebound.

Meek, most recently FerGene’s CEO and a past head at Ipsen, has become CEO at Mirati Therapeutics, taking the reins from founding CEO Charles Baum, who will step over into the role of president and head of R&D, according to a release.

Dave Lennon, former president of Novartis Gene Therapies

Zol­gens­ma patent spat brews be­tween No­var­tis and Re­genxbio as top No­var­tis gene ther­a­py ex­ec de­parts

Regenxbio, a small licensor of gene therapy viral vectors spun out from the University of Pennsylvania, is now finding itself in the middle of some major league patent fights.

In addition to a patent suit with Sarepta Therapeutics from last September, Novartis, is now trying to push its smaller partner out of the way. The Swiss biopharma licensed Regenxbio’s AAV9 vector for its $2.1 million spinal muscular atrophy therapy Zolgensma.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 117,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Volker Wagner (L) and Jeff Legos

As Bay­er, No­var­tis stack up their ra­dio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal da­ta at #ES­MO21, a key de­bate takes shape

Ten years ago, a small Norwegian biotech by the name of Algeta showed up at ESMO — then the European Multidisciplinary Cancer Conference 2011 — and declared that its Bayer-partnered targeted radionuclide therapy, radium-223 chloride, boosted the overall survival of castration-resistant prostate cancer patients with symptomatic bone metastases.

In a Phase III study dubbed ALSYMPCA, patients who were treated with radium-223 chloride lived a median of 14 months compared to 11.2 months. The FDA would stamp an approval on it based on those data two years later, after Bayer snapped up Algeta and christened the drug Xofigo.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 117,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Rafaèle Tordjman (Jeito Capital)

Con­ti­nu­ity and di­ver­si­ty: Rafaèle Tord­j­man's women-led VC firm tops out first fund at $630M

For a first-time fund, Jeito Capital talks a lot about continuity.

Rafaèle Tordjman had spotlighted that concept ever since she started building the firm in 2018, promising to go the extra mile(s) with biotech entrepreneurs while pushing them to reach patients faster.

Coincidentally, the lack of continuity was one of the sore spots listed in a report about the European healthcare sector published that same year by the European Investment Bank — whose fund is one of the LPs, alongside the American pension fund Teacher Retirement System of Texas and Singapore’s Temasek, to help Jeito close its first fund at $630 million (€534 million). As previously reported, Sanofi had chimed in €50 million, marking its first investment in a French life sciences fund.

Mi­rati tri­umphs again in KRAS-mu­tat­ed lung can­cer with a close­ly watched FDA fil­ing now in the cards

After a busy weekend at #ESMO21, which included a big readout for its KRAS drug adagrasib in colon cancer, Mirati Therapeutics is ready to keep the pressure on competitor Amgen with lung cancer data that will undergird an upcoming filing.

In topline results from a Phase II cohort of its KRYSTAL-1 study, adagrasib posted a response rate of 43% in second-line-or-later patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer containing a KRAS-G12C mutation, Mirati said Monday.

Ex­elix­is pulls a sur­prise win in thy­roid can­cer just days ahead of fi­nal Cabome­tyx read­out

Exelixis added a thyroid cancer indication to its super-seller Cabometyx’s label on Friday — months before the FDA was expected to make a decision, and days before the company was set to unveil the final data at #ESMO21.

At a median follow-up of 10.1 months, differentiated thyroid cancer patients treated with Cabometyx (cabozantinib) lived a median of 11 months without their disease worsening, compared to just 1.9 months for patients given a placebo, Exelixis said on Monday.

As­traZeneca, Dai­ichi Sanky­o's ADC En­her­tu blows away Roche's Kad­cy­la in sec­ond-line ad­vanced breast can­cer

AstraZeneca and Japanese drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo think they’ve struck gold with their next-gen ADC drug Enhertu, which has shown some striking data in late-stage breast cancer trials and early solid tumor tests. Getting into earlier patients is now the goal, starting with Enhertu’s complete walkover of a Roche drug in second-line breast cancer revealed Saturday.

Enhertu cut the risk of disease progression or death by a whopping 72% (p=<0.0001) compared with Roche’s ADC Kadcyla in second-line unresectable and/or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer patients who had previously undergone treatment with a Herceptin-chemo combo, according to interim data from the Phase III DESTINY-Breast03 head-to-head study presented at this weekend’s #ESMO21.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 117,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.