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WASHINGTON — Under withering public criticism, the drug industry is doubling down on its arguments that the debate over drug prices is distorted, rolling out a multimillion-dollar ad campaign to repair its reputation and defend the value its medications provide.

The industry’s major lobbying group here, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, unveiled the campaign on Monday. Officials said they would spend in the “high” tens of millions of dollars every year for the next four to five years, rehabilitating their image in the wake of former industry executive Martin Shkreli and the political backlash to rising prices.


“Less hoodie, more lab coats” is how PhRMA President and CEO Stephen Ubl described the advertising campaign in a briefing with reporters. (Shkreli, not missing an opportunity for publicity, responded with a hastily produced website detailing how double-digit price increases are hardly unique to companies outside PhRMA’s membership.)

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  • Pharma is just our generations tobacco companies. As much profit as can be taken over anything else. I’m a pharmacist and see these abuses every day. And the FDA is complacent in it with their constrictive policies. Does anyone really think the FDA will police an industry that directly pays for half of their annual budget. Talk about a conflict of interest. The really bad actors in it all, are the PBM’s. Hundreds of millions in fines and they all continue to rob the public.

  • “How will PhRMA know if it’s succeeded?
    “Our focus at the end of the year is to make sure that there’s a greater understanding about the exciting science that’s happening in the industry,” Zirkelbach said.”
    C’mon it’s all about the bottom line, nothing else counts. If someone is fortunate enough to get helped by a medication without disastrous side effects, they should consider themselves lucky.

  • I believe PhRMA and each company would do better if they really understood the customers they work with. Each company should have a Chief Customer Officer, which is staffed by someone who “actually was the customer”, to be able to speak the language, introduce the right executives, isn’t looked at as a Sales Person, and can identify what “Value” means to each customer, etc. I have spoken to large IDNs and they don’t want Market Access telling them anything and with access in many IDNs/Healthplans limited, it is important to develop new models. Unless you were the customer, you don’t know them.

    • I was that person at one time and you can’t pay me enough to do it again. The position should be called Chief Complaint Officer, for I received little else from patients and doctors when I ran a compassionate use program that gave away FREE drug. Imagine if they had to pay real money.

  • It seems making money is the overriding goal of pharmaceutical companies, not health of citizens. No amount of advertising can hide their callous intent.
    Over the last years, pharmaceutical companies have paid out billions of dollars to settle cases of fraud and false marketing of their products. ( )
    Pharmaceutical companies should be held accountable for the safety of their products and injuries that result from the use of their products. For starters, repeal the NVCIA.

  • Herr Goebbels would be proud of PhRMA’s extravagant PR financing of its putsch to pushback President Trump’s threats to reign in excessive pricing and profiteering. Obviously, as the taxpayer has not benefited from any serious effort by Congress, it will take a true populist to control Big Pharma’s extravaganza.

  • PhRMA’s new campaign to counter President Trump’s war on pharma is very convoluted effort at best. It is blaming the FDA for its high costs. That is a very “ostrichesk” approach. It is not looking at what it needs to do to make drugs affordable but blaming others and justifying the high prices. Yes pharma has taken risks and they have been successful. However, in the recent years return on the risks is dwindling as there are minimal numbers of drugs that are for the masses.

    Most of the new drugs are for orphan diseases or are marginally better than what are commercial. On top of it they are super expensive. Patients have two options. Bankrupt the family or not take the drugs because they are expensive has the modus operandi.

    Current pharma business strategy is how to increase the revenue and profits and that is the only consideration. Mass patient base (10 million + or more) is not a consideration. Every recent drug requires minimum dollars outlay of five numerals at minimum. Not many can afford drugs at these prices even in mutually subsidized healthcare systems.

    It is my conjecture that every new drug going forward will have a price tag of $2.00 plus per tablet (a very optimistic speculation) and patients outside the developed countries cannot afford it. An average expenditure per day per person in the developed countries is about $0.86 per person per day per year. This is about 20 times more than what is spent outside the developed countries.

    If drugs are made affordable so that every person on planet can spend one extra penny per day per year it would translate to pharma revenue of about $28 billion per year.

    New campaign by PhRMA is to assure their pockets are full. Question to answer is what are they doing to make drugs affordable to patients. My answer is a “big circle without as center” i.e. ZERO.

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