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As 2021 winds down, the proverbial rearview mirror displays a mix of spectacular success, vexing challenges, and outsized failure that are certain to shape the coming year for the pharmaceutical industry, and everyone in its far-reaching orbit.

This is our prediction, at least. But given that we were rather close to hitting the bull’s eye a year ago, we feel comfortable playing fortune teller once again. After all, the fundamental issues that characterized this past year — debates over pricing, remonstrations about access to medicines, and head-shaking responses to regulatory decisions — are not going away. So here we go …


Continued uncertainty over drug pricing

The Covid-19 pandemic may have buffed the image of a much-maligned industry, thanks to the extraordinary work that yielded much-needed vaccines and other types of therapies. But no one should confuse such gratitude with a willingness to ignore the prices of medicines, in general. So there is little likelihood that drug makers will get a pass this year, because affordability remains a key challenge.

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