October 20, 2017

Jumpstart Bio Series: The Future of Drug Pricing Recap

Pharmaceutical drug pricing is at the top of the news cycle and increasingly targeted by Congressional investigations and private and state-sponsored lawsuits. At the same time, new medicines that can potentially cure formerly untreatable diseases are at the cusp of approval. How can those who need scientifically complex cures and therapies be able to afford them?

On Oct. 12 Goodwin hosted its inaugural event for the Jumpstart Bio series, focusing on The Future of Drug Pricing. In a standing-room-only-turnout, Goodwin technology and life sciences moderated, and was joined by panelists Matthew Connell, Senior Vice President for Pharmacy + Consumer Solutions, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Robert Coughlin, President + CEO, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, and Chris Holding, Goodwin antitrust and competition co-chair and partner.

Against the backdrop of intense focus in drug pricing and unprecedented innovation, the panel focused on crucial pricing issues faced by biotech professionals, including:

  • How has the historical cycle of patent-protected brand drugs going generic driven innovation? Will it continue to work?
  • How are political inquiries into drug pricing and private lawsuits impacting the industry?
  • What are the best policy proposals to deliver innovative medicines without bankrupting the system, including how can value-based pricing benefit both the drug innovator and insurance company/health plan? Should we treat all medicines the same?

While in the long run employers want their employees to be healthier, more productive and satisfied, insurance companies often have difficulty finding affordable treatments for people who need immediate relief. Highly effective therapies are looking to change the course of diseases once considered incurable, but the cost is often too high for many patients who need the medicine most. Drug innovation is a must to continue an upward trajectory in finding cures for some of the most complex diseases, but at the same time high drug prices must be addressed so that the medication is actually affordable. The panelists agreed there is no immediate solution, but the conversation must continue, and all parties involved must work together to find more affordable cures, or else the innovators’ work won’t reach those who have the most dire need.

Goodwin's Jumpstart Bio breakfast series gathers leaders in the Boston biotech and pharmaceutical community to discuss the intersection of science, business, and the law. This series equips drug development and commercialization professionals to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to issues on the horizon for the industry.

We hope to see you at our next Jumpstart Bio event, “Growing Up and Going Global” in March, 2018. Stay tuned for more details and date!