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Ventures and vultures


The last year has exposed two species in the biopharma world: those that want to advance science and make money through providing new medicines to patients. The other type,  typified by companies like Valeant and Turing, simply wants to buy existing medicines, jack up the prices, and retire to the Bahamas.

Journalist John Carroll, industry veteran yet critic, exposed Martin Shkreli and was called a “moron” by Shkreli on live television. John should be commended for exposing a person who increased the price of a decades-old product with 5000%.

There is a huge difference between companies that take enormous risks to develop new medicines, and those that want to simply cash in on products that have already been developed. Gilead, AbbVie, Janssen, BMS and MSD should be handsomely rewarded for developing true cures for Hepatitis C. 

Novartis should make money on their new heart failure drug, and Amgen, Sanofi and Pfizer should make a profit for delivering medicines that lower cholesterol when existing medicines aren’t working for a patient. That is our business model: if you deliver better outcomes, you will be rewarded.

I want a system that incentivises research based pharmaceutical companies to develop new treatments that deliver better patient outcomes; that is how we continue to drive the innovation we need to address the very real challenges faced by our healthcare systems in Europe. We are keen to continue the dialogue on developing outcomes driven, sustainable models of healthcare delivery. Shrekli and his actions are not, and should not be part of that equation. 

Let’s keep the vultures out. They belong on the savanna, or in the zoo.

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EFPIA Director General

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