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Allergan CEO outlines ‘social contract with patients’

Published on 07/09/16 at 10:41am

Highlighting a recent shift in the priorities of the pharmaceutical industry, Allergan CEO and president Brent Saunders has outlined a his thoughts and a number of company commitments on his blog.

Saunders’ words clarified the firm’s stance on its dedication to “invest and innovate” to endeavour to meet what patients require, stating “our social contract begins where there is a patient with an unmet need” and that it is “committed to risking billions of dollars to develop life-enhancing innovations.”  

Pricing was a key issue, with the CEO pledging to “commit to making these branded therapeutic treatments accessible and affordable to patients” by closely working “with decision makers and intermediaries to make our products accessible to all people who need them.” Saunders’ further outlined this pledge with a list of “responsible pricing ideals.”

  • "We will price our products in a way that is commensurate with, or lower than, the value they create by mitigating or avoiding the need for other treatment modalities or providing better quality of life to those patients without other treatment options.
  • We will enhance access to patients. This means that Allergan will enhance our patient assistance programs in 2017 to match the current industry leader(s).
  • We will work with policy makers and payers to facilitate better access to our medicines.
  • We will not engage in price gouging actions or predatory pricing.
  • We will limit price increases. Where we increase price on our branded therapeutic medicines, we will take price increases no more than once per year and, when we do, they will be limited to single-digit percentage increases. Our expectation is that the overall cost of our drugs, net of rebates and discounts, will not increase by more than low-to-mid single digits percentages per year, slightly above the current annual rate of inflation. 
  • We will not engage in the practice of taking major price increases without corresponding cost increases as our products near patent expiration. While we have participated in this industry practice in the past, we will stop this practice going forward.  Where new regulatory requirements impose added costs, we will seek to reflect those costs in our pricing.
  • We commit to providing an aggregate view of the net impact of price on our business at least annually."

Saunders’ also spoke of the company’s commitment to quality and safety by “intensely monitoring the safety of [its] medicines” and “promptly reporting and acting on new safety data so that patients can trust our medicines,” while also noting the importance of “appropriately educating physicians about our medicines so that they can be used in the right patients for the right conditions.” 

These statements come in the wake of a number of pharmaceutical price hikes in the last few years, most recently Mylan’s 400% increase of its allergy device EpiPen, while Democrat presidential candidate Hilary Clinton vowed this week to tackle “unjustified price hikes for long-available drugs.”

The Allergan CEO was keen to define the company's dediation to helping its customers: “The public’s expectation is that we exist to heal and cure.  It’s an expectation that mirrors our own.”

Matt Fellows

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