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Debating drug pricing

PhRMA, BIO, AHIP, National Coalition on Health Care debate drug pricing

By Steve Usdin, Washington Editor

Payers and politicians are waving the cost of Gilead Sciences Inc.'s Sovaldi sofosbuvir like a bloody shirt, claiming it is inflicting intolerable injury to the healthcare system. They are also using it to rally public indignation against future costly specialty drugs. The biopharma industry is just starting to mount a defense that rests on the value of a cure to a deadly disease and the corrosive effects on innovation of implications that drug prices should reflect the incremental cost to develop a specific product.

An interview with representatives of both stakeholder groups broadcast on BioCentury This Week on July 13 highlighted the need for collaboration, as well as the size of the divide that must be bridged, to arrive at solutions. National Coalition on Health Care President and CEO John Rother and America's Health Insurance Plans spokesperson Brendan Buck said if all specialty drugs are priced like Sovaldi, they will soon break the bank.

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