John Lechleiter on PhRMA and Innovation

Jul 01, 2012

Pharm Exec: Will PhRMA endorse a presidential candidate?

John Lechleiter
John Lechleiter: It's not been our policy to endorse political parties. We support individual candidates who support our positions. We've been clear about what we think the important policies and legislation are: those that enable us to do the work of medical innovation, to make our products accessible and affordable for the people who need them, and that promote a balance between incentivizing new effective medicines and ensuring safety, which is very important.

PE: Do you have a wish list of changes to the health reform bill?

JL: I think the major thrust of our activity...has been to call for the repeal of the Medicare spending advisory board, IPAB. As laudable as the objective of controlling costs might be, we believe it's a system that is just not going to work. It's not going to serve the interest of patients; it's certainly not going to accelerate progress in medical innovation.

PE: Polls show the American public looks at this question and says, well, price controls on drugs is a great idea.

JL: There is a tendency to look at price controls or controlling input cost as some sort of a solution. But every time we try that experiment it backfires; we've seen that at the state level. The mirror image of that, on the positive side, is Medicare Part D. This is a program where the discounts that the system reflects in cost savings are negotiated between third party payers and the pharmaceutical company; we compete to get on Humana's or UnitedHealth's Part D formularies. The estimated costs of Part D over this 10-year period has dropped by $40 billion because of this market-driven approach.

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