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Politics, Policy & Law

Congressional Democrats rehearse drug pricing attacks

Pharma fails to present persuasive case on drug pricing

Pharma fails to present persuasive case on drug pricing.

Oct 3, 2020 | 3:00 AM GMT

Leaders of some of the world’s leading biopharma companies faced off last week against congressional Democrats – and were soundly defeated.

The two-day hearing on drug pricing convened by the House Oversight and Reform Committee could be considered a rehearsal, or pre-season exhibition game, in advance of hearings and legislation that will come next year. The stakes will be far higher if the Democrats have control over the Senate in 2021.

If it hopes to persuade the public to oppose price controls and to build a coalition of pro-innovation Democrats, the industry will have to make a convincing case that it has learned from past missteps and will align its business practices with the public interest.

Biopharma executives failed to make that case at the Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 hearings. Instead, they attempted to justify past practices while at the same time saying they won’t engage in them in the future, a mixed message that is unlikely to inspire confidence.

The strength of arguments that free-market pricing is vital to the ability of companies to deliver innovative medicines in the future was weakened by unrefuted accusations that past

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