Trump overhaul of US drug pricing will cause ‘massive destruction’


Albert Borla, Pfizer

Gian Ehrenzeller | Keystone | AP

US President Donald Trump’s executive orders aimed at lowering drug costs will result in “massive destruction” as the pharmaceutical industry races to develop vaccines and treatments for coronovirus, Pfizer CEO Albert Borla told investors Tuesday told.

Trump on Friday signed four executive orders designed to bring US drug prices at least with their costs overseas.

“Overall, I’m disappointed with this executive order,” Borla said during a conference call to discuss the company’s second-quarter earnings. “They cause huge havoc at a time when the industry needs to focus solely on developing a potential Kovid-19 vaccine or treatment.”

Trump has lowered the cost of medicine, one of his major health care issues in his tenure. But drug pricing has taken a backseat over the past year as the Trump administration shifted its focus to other priorities such as the teen epidemic and now coronovirus. America’s Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers called the executive orders “reckless distraction”.

Following Borla’s remarks, the company expected better earnings in the second quarter and broadened its outlook for 2020. Outlook picked up despite a 32% drop in profits. Pfizer said coronoviruses accounted for about $ 500 million, or 4%, of its quarterly revenue as more people worked from home and received fewer new prescriptions and vaccinations.

Pfizer and German biotech company BioNTech said they began their late-stage human trials for a potential coronavirus vaccine on Monday.

The trial will include 30,000 participants ranging in age from 18 to 85 at 120 sites globally, including 39 US states. If successful, they hope to submit it for final regulatory review in early October. They plan to supply 100 million doses by 2020 and about 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.

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