Join Now

Utah Life Sciences News & Events

Sens. Warren, Sanders Slam Gilead Deal with Government while New Research Says Americans Don’t Pay Twice for Drugs

July 23, 2020

This week Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar seeking an explanation for why the deal with the administration to acquire a large supply of remdesivir in their words “forces U.S. purchasers to pay the highest prices in the world for the drug” The letter requests a response by July 30. The deal gives the U.S. more than 500,000 treatment courses of the antiviral drug for U.S. hospitals through September. 

Their position echos industry critics who argue that public funding, such as NIH, for drug research and development results in Americans paying twice for drugs – once through taxpayers dollars for the federally-funded research, and then again to the drug manufacturers when medicines are placed on the market.

Meanwhile, new research by Rena M. Conti of Boston University and Frank S. David of Pharmagellan LLC and Harvard-MIT Center for Regulatory Science says otherwise. Their study found “the public sector’s contribution to new drugs has been in the form of early scientific findings, unrelated to current or potential applications,” with 90% of NIH-funded publications connected to new medicines “related to the underlying drug target, not the actual therapy itself.” Moreover, the study found that the “private sector is the main inventor,” with 25% of drugs approved between 2008-2017 having “any documented contribution, of any magnitude, to a drug’s initial discovery, synthesis, or key intellectual property by a public sector research institution or academic ‘spin-off’ company.”