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While drug pricing remains a top topic in the media at large and worthy of continuous exploration, we shift away in our latest pharma trends report, instead spotlighting seven key themes that we think are a bit less unpredictable in the months ahead.
The Pharmaceutical Executive Editorial Advisory Board met in mid-November to discuss the current trends, industry issues, and market dynamics that keep biopharma executives on their toes (see group photo at bottom). This month's issue, heralding a new year, as well as a new decade, features the top trends for 2020 that came out of our expert meeting. We all expect pharma pricing to remain the topic coming out of mainstream media.
As we wrapped up 2019, headlines centered around H.R.3, the bill that passed unanimously in the House to address Medicare negotiations of drug costs. It would allow the HHS secretary to negotiate the prices of as many as 250 drugs annually, penalize companies that do not negotiate with HHS with a fine starting at 65% of a drug’s gross sales from the prior year, and caps out-of-pocket prescription drugs costs for those covered by Medicare Part D to $2,000 annually, among other details.
Also up for pharma attention at the end of 2019 was the removal of the biologics exclusivity provision from the signed US, Mexico, and Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, which would have extended the exclusivity of biologics in Canada and Mexico. Both PhRMA and BIO took a stand against USMCA because of the potential IP issues.
And December also saw the Trump administration’s plan for drug importation, alluded to in July, which includes a 75-day comment rule. Initial reports of the plan, which allows states and drug companies to import certain prescription medicines from Canada and elsewhere to lower costs, were unfavorable. Both PhRMA and BIO stated that importing drugs from other countries was a potential safety risk, and the Canadian government itself said it would unlikely be able to fulfill the import demand from the US.
While Pharm Exec acknowledges that pricing concerns are always a trend, we didn’t include it this year in our top trends as a specific topic because of the consistently shifting-and hard to predict-landscape. From 2016 to last year, Pharm Exec’s trends related to pricing included, in descending order, gene therapy pricing; the push for drug pricing policies from individual states; the global pricing stage; and the stirrings of the value vs. price discussion.
More for 2020
Our top trends list for this year, in no particular order, is: the many financial runways for biotech; the oncology pipeline; talent in pharma; smart voice technology; the cell and gene cascade continues; ownership of patient data; and the emerging pharma markets of Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey, or MIST countries. For other Trends and Predictions articles from external stakeholders, please check out the section on the home page at pharmexec.com.
We are also happy to share that 2020 will bring an updated look to the magazine, which will debut late Q1/early Q2. And another staple of Pharm Exec, the Emerging Pharma Leaders (EPLs), on hiatus in 2019, will be announced at the April eyeforpharma event in Philadelphia, and featured in our May issue. As we look forward to both of these important milestones, we welcome comments about our redesign and hope to see your nominations for Emerging Pharma Leaders that deserve recognition. The nominations will open Jan. 24, so please check pharmexec.com for more information.