The high cost of drugs and the lobbying by pharmaceutical companies to generate public support for these high prices has been a topic of discussion for many months. The topic has also been a continuing focus of notes here on Lab Soft News (see, for example: Researching the Cost of Stellara, a Drug Used to Treat Plaque Psoriasis; Pharma Money Flows into California Opposing Proposition 61; The Challenge of High Drug Prices in U.S.; Physicians' Use of Generics). Now comes news that the pharmceutical lobby, under fire for high drug prices, has launched a media campaign to combat negative opinions about the industry (see: Drug Lobby, Under Criticism, Starts Media Campaign). Below is an excerpt from the article:
The largest lobbying organization for pharmaceutical companies began running TV ads...to improve the industry's image as criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump increases. The industry is touting developments in science by pharmaceutical companies and will spend "tens of millions" on television commercials....Pharmaceutical companies may be facing their most difficult time ahead as criticism about the price of drugs continues to increase. In a news conference this month, Trump said drug manufacturers were "getting away with murder" because of their pricing. Additionally, drug manufacturers were considered winners when the Affordable Care Act became law because more people had increased access to prescriptions. A repeal of the law often known as Obamacare could mean many people losing insurance could not afford to purchase drugs...[T]he "Go Boldly" campaign...[is] an effort to refocus the discussion about the strides in research....Like many organizations, the [pharma lobbying] group signaled it expected Democrat Hillary Clinton was going to win and began planning to push back at her calls for capping drug prices....(This campaign) is not aimed at any one legislative issue....
Here are more details about the pharma "Go Boldly" marketing campaign (see: What’s the Story Behind the New “Go Boldly” Big Pharma Ads?):
The publicity campaign will continue for at least four, and possibly five years. According to an industry spokesperson, [the drug lobbying organization] PhRMA will be spending tens of millions of dollars ever year in order to convince the public that the industry is not the blood-sucking, exploitative corporate monster that America thinks it is. PhRMA head Stephen Ubl says, “This industry is the crown jewel of the American economy…we have a great story to tell and we’re going to do a better job telling it.”
It's no surprise that this advertising campaign makes no mention of drug prices because there is no room to maneuver along these lines. All U.S. consumers understand that drug prices are out of control and that we have our politicians, in part, to thank for this situation. CMS is not allowed by law to negotiate for the drugs that this agency purchases though Medicare. It's probably unlikely that a marketing campaign focusing on the cost of research by the pharma industry will pacify the public in this regard, or even Trump for that matter. I also need to mention that there is some controversy whether allowing CMS to negotiate with drug companies would lower the overall cost of drugs (see: The Fight Trump Faces Over Drug Prices). There is no doubt, however, the pharmaceutical industry will hardly miss the hundreds of millions of dollars that will be spent on the "Go Boldly" campaign, so why not try?