AstraZeneca chief says the US drugs market is under pressure and changes are coming

  • Pascal Soriot, the CEO of European pharma giant AstraZeneca, believes that now the Democrats have won back control of the House of Representatives, they will “have to work collaboratively with the (President Donald Trump) administration. “We will see what they come up with,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Thursday.
  • AstraZeneca is a biopharmaceutical company with a market capitalization of around $100 billion. It derives 31 percent of its product sales from the U.S.

    Health care was the top issue for Americans voting in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

    Based on exit polls by NBC News, more U.S. voters cited it as their top concern on the ballot than any other issue — marking the first time in at least a decade that’s happened.

    Pascal Soriot, the CEO of European pharma giant AstraZeneca, believes that now the Democrats have won back control of the House of Representatives, they will “have to work collaboratively with the (President Donald Trump) administration.
    “We will see what they come up with,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Thursday.

    AstraZeneca is a biopharmaceutical company with a market capitalization of around $100 billion. It derives 31 percent of its product sales from the U.S.

    “It is clear the (U.S.) market is under pressure, changes are coming. (It) is really hard to imagine what will happen to prices. But I think one of the things that I would say, as far as the U.S. marketplace goes, is it needs to gain transparency,” Soriot said.

    During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump pledged his commitment to lowering prescription drug prices. In July 2018, the president tweeted that drugmakers “should be ashamed” for raising prices.

    Democrats took control of the House in this week’s midterm elections after campaigning with a health care-heavy agenda. They promised to “stop outrageous prescription drug price increases” and aim to force drug manufacturers to publicly release hard data and information justifying any significant price increase.

    Trump said at a White House press conference the day after the midterms that he hopes to work together with Congressional Democrats on drug pricing. He expects the Democrats to come up with some “fantastic ideas” that he can support “including prescription drug prices” which he noted his administration has put a big dent in already.

    According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United States had the highest per-capita pharmaceutical spending in 2015.

    The Trump administration launched a BluePrint to Lower Drug Prices in May. The initiative, backed by the Department of Health and Human Services, seeks to drive down drug prices for Americans through a range of actions.

    AstraZeneca itself agreed to freeze drug prices in the U.S. in July for the rest of 2018 following pressure from Trump. Pfizer, Novartis, Roche and Merck made similar commitments. The medium-term outlook for drug pricing, however, remains an open question.


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