JPM: Bresch calls out pricing transparency

Dive Brief:

  • Mylan CEO Heather Bresch told a packed room at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco that it's time for the way the industry does business to change.
  • The executive made headlines throughout 2016 for the sharp price increases of the company's allergic reaction medication EpiPen.
  • Bresch talked about drug pricing and lessons learned during the EpiPen controversy at the 35th annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. 

Dive Insight:

No one is letting Mylan and high-profile CEO Bresch off the hook for their role in the pricing debate that defined 2016. But unlike many in the industry, Bresch seems ready to turn over a new leaf and tackle the problem.

"The most valuable lesson I learned [during the EpiPen saga] was that the pricing model and business have to change," she said on Jan. 11.

While not pointing the finger at any one company specifically, the exec called out other companies that are taking small steps toward transparency of drug pricing, but not making big enough moves to create change.

"Many companies are saying that price increases below 10% are the answer," she said, while noting that a 9% increase to drug spending in the U.S. would still be $33 billion dollars.

Allergan CEO Brent Saunders has become the poster boy for these sorts of increases when he pledged to stop predatory pricing and keep the company's increases in single digits. Allergan announced several price increases at the end of the year – all about 9% each.

Several companies have followed Saunders' example, including Novo Nordisk and most recently Johnson & Johnson.

While the move has been praised by the industry, which has been pushing the message that innovation saves lives (and costs money), pushback from the public makes it clear that the step is not enough.

"If anyone is leaving this conference thinking it's business as usual, they are wrong," said Bresch. 

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Top image credit: Lisa LaMotta