Welcome to the Week in Review.

1. Continued push for competition
On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the anti-competitive tactics used by the pharmaceutical industry to block generic and biosimilar competition in order to keep drug prices high. P4ADNOW’s founder and cancer patient David Mitchell, testified before the committee in support of bipartisan bills currently in Congress that would address these patent abuses, including pay-for-delay deals, product hopping, and patent thickets. Committee members from both parties expressed outrage over drug makers’ persistent manipulation of the patent system at the expense of patients. Chairman Durbin condemned big pharmaceutical companies’ “skilled lawyers manipulating the patent system” to delay affordable competition, and Senator Cornyn highlighted the 165 patents on Humira as clear “abuse” of the system that resulted in AbbVie’s prolonged monopoly pricing power. The reforms are urgently needed to restore fairness to our patent system, increase competition, and provide relief to patients and taxpayers. — (AxiosYoutubeWOKVMedPage TodayP4ADNOWSenate Judiciary CommitteeNBC News)

2. Facts V. Pharma Fearmongering
AstraZeneca’s new goal to reach $80 billion in revenue by 2030 — a 75 percent increase over 2023 — by aiming to launch 20 new medicines, undermines industry claims that the Inflation Reduction Act will stifle drug innovation. The company’s CEO Pascal Soriot even recently admitted that the impact of the drug price law is “completely manageable” yet the company is simultaneously pursuing an aggressive lawsuit to dismantle Medicare negotiation — one of the most popular and transformational provisions in the historic legislation. Major pharmaceutical companies like AstraZeneca are projecting robust growth and a flourishing pipeline of new medicines in the years to come, and drugmakers are continuing to thrive and invest in research, demonstrating that innovation can coexist with policies aimed at providing much-needed pricing relief to patients. — (The GuardianCNBCFierce PharmaReutersGeorgetown UniversitySTAT)   

2. Launch Prices for New Diabetes Drugs Create Access Barriers
Big Pharma’s high launch prices for diabetes and weight loss drugs like Ozempic and Trulicity are creating significant access barriers. A KFF poll revealed that about 54 percent of adults who had taken a GLP-1 drug found them “difficult” to afford, with high prices disproportionately harming people from historically underserved communities. Patients are being forced to ration or forgo their essential medicines, exacerbating health conditions and leading to devastating but preventable consequences such as kidney failure and blindness. We must address launch prices to balance the need for fair profits while ensuring accessibility and affordability. — (KFFKFFFox 5)

PhRMA Lobbying: The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) spent $9.4 million on federal lobbying in the first quarter of 2024. This heavy spending underscores the industry’s determination to protect its power to set prices despite ongoing efforts from patients and allies.