Pharma Faces New Political Landscape - Pharmaceutical Technology

Latest Issue
PharmTech

Latest Issue
PharmTech Europe

Pharma Faces New Political Landscape
Republican gains in Congress create uncertainty for healthcare reform, drug regulation, and biomedical research.


Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 34, Issue 12, pp. 26-30


Jill Wechsler
The Republican wave that swept many long-standing Democrats out of Congress and state houses last month raises unusual challenges for pharmaceutical manufacturers. While the slow pace of economic recovery and continued high unemployment were the top issues stirring voter discontent, healthcare reform emerged as a deciding factor when unhappy Americans went to the polls.

With new leaders controlling the House of Representatives, and Democrats holding a narrower majority in the Senate, Republicans will be looking to deliver on promises to cut government spending and to repeal or revise what they call "Obamacare." This will not be an easy task, as many provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are highly popular, including closing the doughnut hole in the Medicare drug benefit, requiring insurers to cover patients with pre-existing conditions, and providing tax credits for small businesses purchasing employee coverage. There's broad support for approving similar versions of biotechnology therapies that will be more affordable for patients, a provision championed by consumers and biopharmaceutical manufacturers alike.

To satisfy candidates who ran successfully against Obamacare, the new House leaders are gearing up for a vote to repeal healthcare reform early next year. This move would largely be a symbolic gesture because it's unlikely to pass the Senate or override Obama's veto pen. Drug companies and insurers are anxious to extend coverage to the 30 million uninsured Americans in order to expand markets, and the individual mandate is key to achieving this goal; without some penalty for being uninsured, consumers will wait until they are sick to purchase health insurance, and premiums will rise. The worst-case scenario for biopharmaceutical manufacturers is that the promised expansion in healthcare coverage evaporates, leaving companies with added fees and rebates, and considerable uncertainty about reimbursement for new therapies that are costly to develop.


ADVERTISEMENT

blog comments powered by Disqus
LCGC E-mail Newsletters

Subscribe: Click to learn more about the newsletter
| Weekly
| Monthly
|Monthly
| Weekly

Survey
What role should the US government play in the current Ebola outbreak?
Finance development of drugs to treat/prevent disease.
Oversee medical treatment of patients in the US.
Provide treatment for patients globally.
All of the above.
No government involvement in patient treatment or drug development.
Finance development of drugs to treat/prevent disease.
23%
Oversee medical treatment of patients in the US.
14%
Provide treatment for patients globally.
7%
All of the above.
47%
No government involvement in patient treatment or drug development.
9%
Jim Miller Outsourcing Outlook Jim MillerOutside Looking In
Cynthia Challener, PhD Ingredients Insider Cynthia ChallenerAdvances in Large-Scale Heterocyclic Synthesis
Jill Wechsler Regulatory Watch Jill Wechsler New Era for Generic Drugs
Sean Milmo European Regulatory WatchSean MilmoTackling Drug Shortages
New Congress to Tackle Health Reform, Biomedical Innovation, Tax Policy
Combination Products Challenge Biopharma Manufacturers
Seven Steps to Solving Tabletting and Tooling ProblemsStep 1: Clean
Legislators Urge Added Incentives for Ebola Drug Development
FDA Reorganization to Promote Drug Quality
Source: Pharmaceutical Technology,
Click here