Ed Schoonveld Discusses Drug Pricing in the US and Upcoming Articles


In an interview with Pharma Commerce Editor Nicholas Saraceno, Ed Schoonveld, Value & Access Advisor, Schoonveld Advisory, offers his thoughts on lower drug prices in the US and provides a sneak peak into future PC features.

PC: Do you believe it's feasible for drug prices to be lowered in the US?

Schoonveld: There have been cases where companies have exploited it. Particularly, it has happened for older drugs. Only one company produces it and then they hike the costs. That's not very ethical behavior and we should all be be against that. But that's not what the general trend is in the marketplace in the US. Can you lower prices? Yes, of course you can. You can make it as low as you want, but will somebody still be able to produce it and come up with new innovations? No, of course not. It has to come from somewhere.

PC: Are there any other future article topics that you can share with the audience?

Schoonveld: A couple of topics come to mind. The Inflation Reduction Act: we need to see how the IRA works out negotiations that are ongoing. Everyone is looking at that. But then also on the theme that we just talked about, right? With respect to what price controls are happening in other markets specifically. But also, what is the sustainability in our environment? I mean, we're complaining about affordability right now. There was just another gene therapy that was declared to be worth $3.9 million. Those are amazing amounts, for frankly, amazing treatments, of course, with a very small patient population. That's why it doesn't work any other way, unfortunately. But new technology is advancing. There will be more expensive treatments. So there is a point where we just have to have that ethical discussion. I mean, how are we going to deal with that? if we have these great innovations, but we cannot afford to give them everybody, that's a difficult question. We need to comes to grips with that if innovation goes further. So let's hope we have that problem. How do you address that that affordability aspect? In Europe, governments are really clamping down much harder on prices, but also in emerging markets. There's a huge issue in African and Asian countries when it comes to access to cancer medicines. WHO paid a lot of attention to this until the beginning of COVID. But it's still an issue that is there. How do we address that? What are the consequences of that? If you supply a drug to a poor country, Is the US public going to accept that? Is the European public going to accept that? These are very complex societal issues in a world where there's so much conflict and war. How can you expect governments to get together to solve that? he industry is kind of caught in an area where they need to handle that, but there's no political stage to have that conversation.

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