Medical innovation has a price: BioNJ Roundtable — Biopharma execs share what’s behind drug pricing | NJBIZ

It’s no secret that biopharmaceutical companies have become the target of heavy criticism from politicians and consumers due to high drug prices, especially at a time when health care reform in the U.S. has become a hot-button topic.

The topic is especially of interest in New Jersey, given that some of the state’s largest employers are biopharmaceutical companies including Kenilworth-based Merck; Johnson & Johnson, headquartered in New Brunswick; and Celgene, located in Summit.

A panel of biopharmaceutical executives and industry advocates stressed that such criticisms are misguided, ignore the benefits of groundbreaking medicines to the health care system as a whole, and fail to recognize the role that health insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers play in the cost of drugs. They also said that FDA approval regulations also play a part in the extremely high costs of bringing new drugs to market.

They offered their views during a Sept. 13 roundtable sponsored by BioNJ focused on biopharmaceutical innovation and drug prices, and discussed ways to strike a balance between the profitability and affordability of drugs. The discussion coincidentally took place on the day that Vermont Senator from and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders – a long-time critic of the pharmaceutical industry for high drug prices – introduced his “Medicare for All” bill to the U.S. Senate.

The executives said that critics of drug prices largely ignore the benefits of the innovation and medical breakthroughs that drug makers have made over the past 25 years, and that the development of new drugs has lowered the cost of health care by keeping people out of hospitals and avoiding visits to the emergency room.

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Medical innovation has a price: BioNJ Roundtable — Biopharma execs share what’s behind drug pricing | NJBIZ.