Pharma industry favors Joe Biden’s campaign despite his push for lower drug prices

The contrast between US President Donald Trump and the Democrat nominee Joe Biden’s stances on healthcare are quite stark. While it is not immediately clear whose policies would benefit pharma players more, it appears that the pharmaceutical industry has a clear favorite as it donated $5.9m to Biden’s presidential campaign compared to Trump’s $1.5m donation, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Valentina Gburcik, PhD, Senior Director of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases, Gender Health and Digital at GlobalData, comments: “Biden’s proposed plan to build on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by increasing premium assistance and creating a Medicare-like public option would make coverage more affordable for a significant number of people, but the federal spending would be much higher – with some estimates from Biden’s campaign stating federal spending would double over ten years, to fund the deficits caused by the proposed drug price cuts.

“Biden’s plans also include giving the Federal Government the authority to negotiate drug prices for Medicare and other public and private purchasers, as well as putting a price cap in place based on the drug prices in other high-income countries, eliminating tax breaks for drug advertising expenses, putting a cap on out-of-pocket Medicare drug costs and allowing consumers to import drugs.”

Despite many promises to produce a new healthcare plan, President Trump has not yet done so – instead opting to repeal and replace the ACA.

Gburcik continues: “Trump’s replacement for the ACA involves weaker protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions, reduced assistance with premium fares, elimination of the Medicaid expansion and a cap on all federal funding for Medicaid.

“If Trump does come up with a new healthcare plan, as promised, one of the immediate ramifications for the pharma industry would be that the number of insured patients would decrease. This would lead to lower diagnosis rates for many conditions and a decrease in the size of the drug-treated population, resulting in decreased revenues for drug makers.

“On the other hand, without the pricing pressures from the ACA, there could be a drive toward using more expensive brand drugs rather than generics. Additionally, people without insurance would use expensive emergency rooms as a substitute for primary care, which increases costs for everyone.

“Although Trump emphasized the need to address high drug prices, there have been a very few policies put in place to achieve this.”

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