Executives from U.S. drugmakers such as Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer talked about the possible changes awaiting the industry under President-elect Donald Trump at the Forbes Healthcare Summit this week.
After he was elected, pharmaceutical stocks surged as investors concluded the threat of action on drug pricing had lessened. Trump has said he wants to repeal Obamacare, but hasn’t addressed the industry’s drug pricing problem which has largely dominated public discussion of pharmaceuticals in the past year.
Len Schleifer, CEO of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NSDQ:REGN), said the industry will continue to face scrutiny over its profits and pricing if it doesn’t put an end to double-digit price increases on widely-used medicines. “We as an industry have used price increases to fill gaps in innovation,” he said, according to Reuters. “You can’t say ‘I set the price based on the value of the drug’ and then have these egregious price increases.”
Allergan (NYSE:AGN) CEO Brent Saunders predicted Trump could be critical of drugmakers and become a “more vicious tweeter” against the industry than Hillary Clinton, according to Reuters. “I worry today that the pharmaceutical industry has a very false sense of security because of the Trump administration and a Republican-controlled Congress,” Saunders said.
Ian Read, CEO of Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), said he hoped to see financial risk shift from insurers to providers under a Trump presidency. “Give them the tools and the freedom and the incentive to manage that risk,” he said, according to the news outlet.
Merck‘s (NYSE:MRK) CEO Ken Frazier took issue with Trump’s proposal to allow the import of cheaper drugs from other countries, saying that current U.S. law forbids importation of drugs from other countries that charge far less than what the U.S. pays.
“I don’t think it’s going to be made possible,” said Frazier, during an interview on CNBC after appearing at the conference. “Every time we’ve tried to do that no FDA commissioner has ever been willing to certify the safety of those drugs.”