One year ago, Brent Saunders tried to single-handedly reset the national debate over drug pricing.

The Allergan (AGN) chief executive issued a “social contract” and vowed to keep price hikes below 10 percent a year. He argued that drug makers could — and should — act responsibly amid smoldering criticism over prices. Few companies followed suit, but Saunders won a high profile for his efforts.

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  • The biggest winner actually is Shire, who makes Xiidra, same stuff as Restasis. For the conspiracy buffs, both meds retail for EXACTLY $426.73. If Restasis goes generic that would be bad for Shire, which is really why Sherrod is in a knot over this. Also, if you think you have contracted keratoconjunctivitis sicca from watching too many Restasis ads, you probably just have old fashioned dry eyes. Go to the pharmacy and buy OTC Sestayne eye lubricant. Cheap and good.

    • Xiidra and Restasis are absolutely not the same. Xiidra actually works through totally different mechanisms (and actually works well), but you’re right that generic competition from restasis would hurt Shire. Saunders took a risky social move with this one. It may backfire massively in the current environment. This is especially when the FDA head is pushing aggressively for quicker approval of generics. Get the feeling that Allergan’s pipeline is crap. Botox for depression…that’s just dumb.

  • And how can you tell if a pharma CEO is …. being less than truthful? When his lips are moving – or he talks about controlling prices? Or is that too harsh … or too sexist?

    • the problem is that when one pharma CEO behaves unethically, congress and public citizens become outraged on SoMe. but if a pharma CEO develops first in-class therapies that genuinely improve patients’ lives, no one (aside from practitioners) pays attention.

  • Allergan and the Mohawks not strange bedfellows when comes to skirting the law. The Mohawks for years have been involved in drug smuggling across the border along with illegal sales of alcohol and cigarettes. Pharma has always been willing to consort with any entity that will protect its economic interests. Far from being the social justice warrior Saunders claims to be.

    Ed, if I were your headline writer I would retitle your piece “Dances with Wolves”.

  • I have glaucoma and after trying several brands of drops my ophthalmologist decided that Allergan’s brand, Lumigan .01%, was the one that kept my pressure down the best. Allergan ran a co-pay savings card loyalty program that kept my costs down to $30 for a 3-month supply but then they stopped the program and my costs shot up to over $200 and my health insurance company refused to cover that unless it was the only one that worked for me. I had to go new prescription/pressure check in two weeks, new prescription/pressure check in two weeks, new prescription/pressure check in two weeks, all this time buying and discarding new medications and paying the ophthalmologist each time. Fortunately, a generic version of Lumigan appeared on the market and I got back to paying $30. Of course, this also involved more visits to the doctor and also Bimatoprost, the generic version, was .03% in strength.

    Needless to say, I don’t have a very high opinion of Allergan as a company. This was compounded when they were involved in moving their headquarters to Ireland to avoid U.S. taxes. Now this.

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