The WHO Report and Access to Cancer Medicines

Posted by Ed Schoonveld on Tue, Feb 05, 2019

The World Health Organization’s recently published report, “Pricing of Cancer Medicines and its Impacts,” has elevated the issue to the agenda of the WHO’s executive board and is likely to ignite a lot of debate and some potential actions. While the report raises some very legitimate concerns related to access to anti-cancer drugs for patients, it also falls short of understanding the pharmaceutical industry environment. Rather than simply blaming the industry, it would be more productive to understand what’s standing in the way of collaboration to address patient needs and then jointly try to develop realistic programs to resolve it.


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The Age of Value and Affordability

Posted by Ed Schoonveld on Wed, Jan 23, 2019

In last week’s blog, I argued that the pharmaceutical industry needs to take action to address recent drastic changes in the environment. Here’s a closer look at these underlying changes:


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Pharma in Interesting Times

Posted by Ed Schoonveld on Tue, Jan 08, 2019

“May you live in interesting times” is an intriguing Chinese expression that’s seemingly a blessing, but it’s really a curse. The pharmaceutical industry is facing a very tough year as an erratic U.S. president and a public that’s frustrated about drug prices provide motivation for bad solutions. It’s interesting that the Health and Human Services Secretary from the industry, Alex Azar, is now seeking to initiate price controls, albeit as a five year “experiment” rather than properly vetted legislation. Equally interesting is that the public frustration was mainly triggered by a combination of insurance funding concerns for a Hepatitis C cure and exotic price increases for off-patent drugs. This is not to say that the industry goes without blame. Pharma is better known for its lobbying power and erectile dysfunction ads than for its public communications. The pharma business model can’t easily be explained in 140 characters, but we certainly need to try a lot harder.


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