Boston Globe: With start of Medicare drug price negotiations, a rift over their impact in Mass.

Aug 30, 2023

The following is an excerpt from the Boston Globe originally published online on August 29, 2023:

The state’s biopharma industry, one of the world’s largest, has stayed largely quiet over the past year as a parade of drug giants based outside Massachusetts joined with the US Chamber of Commerce in filing lawsuits contending the planned price talks are unconstitutional.

But the local reticence appears to be changing amid mounting industry concern that the negotiations and other measures to hold down costs have the potential to dampen drug makers’ ability to raise money for research, expand their product pipelines, and hire workers.

“The drug price negotiation program, as enacted, will negatively impact drug discovery and innovation and ultimately patients around the world, and that’s why we are supportive of current litigation,” said Kendalle Burlin O’Connell, president and chief executive of MassBio, a trade and lobbying group. “MassBio is watching this like a hawk.”

British-based AstraZeneca, which last week became the sixth drug maker to challenge the US drug price reform law, operates Alexion, a rare disease subsidiary, from Boston. Most other global pharma players conduct research or have other operations in Massachusetts.

Earlier this summer, the top executive at Cambridge’s Biogen said he would look into contesting the law. Anylam, another Cambridge biotech, scrapped plans for a clinical trial for a rare eye disease treatment last year, citing worries over how much it might be allowed to charge.

A recent report from Vital Transformation, a Brussels-based consulting firm, estimated that the drug price controls set into motion by the new law would result in the loss of 500,000 jobs in the United States over the coming decade, including 30,000 in Massachusetts.

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