Teva exec: Pharma needs to face its pricing demons head-on
- Citing the drug industry's image problem, Teva's global R&D chief, Michael Hayden, is calling for a more responsible approach to drug pricing.
- In addition, Hayden decried Turing's price increase of Daraprim from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill as "inappropriate and shocking behavior," according to a report from Reuters.
- Nonetheless, Hayden maintainst that "true innovation needs to be rewarded," using major advances in treatment of HIV and hepatitis C as examples of true innovation.
To many, Hayden is a hero, if only because he is one of the first pharmaceutical executives to stand up independently and address what is clearly a growing crisis, signaling large-scale intolerance of current drug pricing policies. Hayden noted that the public's receptivity to Hillary Clinton's proprosals to cap treatment costs and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug pricing suggests that this is a real issue—and one that is not going away.
But this is an issue that dogs Teva, too. When Hayden was called to task for Teva's price increases of its flagship multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone (glatiramer), he countered that Teva's generic medications have saved the U.S. healthcare system $162 billion over the last 10 years. Generics-related savings notwithstanding, the increase in the cost of Copaxone, which was originally approved by the FDA in 1996, has made headlines year after year. In fact, a recent analysis in the April issue of Neurology shows that the cost of the first-generation drugs used to treat MS, including Copaxone, have increased from an average price range of $8,000 to $11,000 per year to one of $60,000 per year.
The good news in this scenario is that Sandoz's generic glatiramer was approved by the FDA this past April. It's also significant that Hayden has publicly addressed the issue of out-of-control pricing, even as Teva is called out the Copaxone situation. But consumers and media critics may demand more action and less talk.