Welcome to the Week in Review.

Pharma V. Facts

At this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology conference, drug industry executives and their allies continued to peddle misinformation about the Inflation Reduction Act, claiming the law will stifle investment in small-molecule drugs. However, their fear-mongering doesn’t align with the facts. In the nine months following the law’s passage, major pharmaceutical companies have shown an increased appetite for acquiring small-molecule drugs. Eli Lilly’s $2.4 billion purchase of DICE Therapeutics, a biotech company with a promising small-molecule drug in Phase II clinical trials, and Bristol Myers Squibb’s $4.8 billion acquisition of Mirati Therapeutics with its small-molecule cancer drug Krazati, demonstrate the enduring attractiveness and profitability of these therapeutic approaches. In fact, analysts have projected a significant increase in global spending on small-molecule drugs from $76 billion in 2022 to about $152 billion in 2031. Venture capital firms have similarly expressed confidence in the value proposition of small molecules, which have accounted for more than 75 percent of all new drugs since 2010. Despite warnings at the conference from industry leaders like Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) CEO Stephen Ubl about the law’s supposed “negative implications” for innovation, Medicare’s long-overdue authority to negotiate fair drug prices promises massive cost savings for patients and taxpayers, without diminishing incentives for continued investment in medical breakthroughs. — (Fierce Pharma, Brookings InstituteEndpoints, Fierce Pharma, STAT, NIH, CAP, NPR

Americans Concerned Over High Drug Prices

A new national poll by West Health-Gallup confirms the harsh reality faced by millions of Americans: soaring drug prices. Thirty-one percent of Americans, who pay more than four times for the same brand name drugs compared to residents of other wealthy nations, are concerned about their ability to afford their medications over the next 12 months – a significant jump from 25 percent in 2022. Among adults 65 and older, the increase is even more substantial, up 11 percentage points to 31 percent from 20 percent. “The medications are very, very expensive. I’m a diabetic and a lot of the medications that I’m taking are like a hundred and something [dollars],” shared Emily G., a Texas patient highlighted in the survey report. These findings come as public opinion of the pharmaceutical industry continues plummeting. A shocking 83 percent of Americans believe profits are the primary driver of high drug prices, with the industry’s approval rating a dismal 18 percent.

As public anxiety mounts, so too is the pressure on policymakers to confront Big Pharma’s profiteering head-on. While the Inflation Reduction Act was a monumental step toward lowering drug prices for millions of patients on Medicare, urgent legislative action is needed to increase competition to lower prices for more Americans. Congress has the opportunity to advance bipartisan legislation that would close loopholes and rein in Big Pharma’s patent abuses to increase savings for patients. P4ADNOW’s David Mitchell testified last month before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the urgent need for these critical reforms to ensure patients can access the medications they need at prices they can afford.  — (Gallup, RAND, P4ADNOW, Forbes)