Healthcare costs, specifically those related to prescription drugs, are a major election issue for many Americans. According to the August 2016 Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, two-thirds of Americans say Medicare access and healthcare affordability are top election issues, and 53 percent of voters say that prescription drug costs in particular are top priorities. Many of the efforts to address these issues concern the use of comparative efficacy and cost-effectiveness research. These forms of research, widely used integrated in the healthcare systems of many countries in Europe and elsewhere, are only recently gaining traction in the United States. Policy efforts and election outcomes could have a major impact on how these forms of research are used in the future.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Bristol-Myers Squibb stock dropped dramatically on August 5th, 2016. This occurred after clinical trial results indicated that BMS’s immunotherapy drug OPDIVO® (nivolumab) failed to demonstrate a clinical improvement compared to chemotherapy in patients with newly-diagnosed lung cancer.
The financial market reaction to the clinical trial results highlights the growing importance of comparative efficacy research, both for obtaining approval and market access and, increasingly, for remaining competitive and driving profits. The impact of this announcement shows that the stakes are higher than just obtaining regulatory approval. Clinical trial results can have immediate and significant consequences before any regulatory decisions are even made. Here we discuss the importance of comparative efficacy research on market access, pricing, profitability, and competition.
Brexit has stunned the world and shaken the foundation of many industries, including the pharmaceutical industry. The decision for the United Kingdom (UK) to leave the European Union (EU) is creating more questions than answers. There are many details that will be ironed out in the coming days, months and possibly even years, but pharma should be paying particular attention to how the Brexit will affect drug development, regulatory and health technology assessment (HTA) process and drug pricing.