LEAD-Novartis / Flickr Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez at the...
LEAD-Novartis / Flickr

For those not familiar with money-making at a drug company like Novartis, it’s all about patents and when they expire, ie when generics can eat their profits. And in 2016/2017 Novartis was already reeling and scared.

The election was freaking out the whole industry just as Novartis was hoping to recover from a round of patent expirations:

With both U.S. presidential candidates promising action on drug prices, November’s election could trigger a sea change in the industry, Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez figures.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Jimenez predicted that pricing pressures in the U.S. will only increase when a new administration takes over, whether that administration is helmed by Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump.

“We believe that, no matter which candidate wins, we will see a more difficult pricing environment in the U.S.,” Jimenez told the Financial Times, adding, “We all have to plan…

www.fiercepharma.com/…

And they did. And where’s Trump on drug prices? Same place as on Russia’s interference in the election: “Radio silence.”

Cummings pointed out that he and Rep. Pete Welch, D-Vt., met with Trump last March to discuss rising drug costs and that the two congressmen gave the president a draft of the Medicare bill. Trump “seemed enthusiastic about the proposal,” according to Cummings’ office.

“But all I have heard back is radio silence,” Cummings said. “Instead, his actions have gone in exactly the opposite direction — tapping a pharmaceutical executive to lead HHS and giving drug companies one of the biggest tax breaks in history despite their already record profits,” Cummings said.

“These aren’t just empty promises, they are obvious falsehoods. I must keep up hope that the President will finally change course, and I stand ready to work with him or anyone else should that happen.”

www.cnbc.com/…

and

www.axios.com/…

New polling data from the advocacy group Patients For Affordable Drugs shows widespread support for more action on drug pricing — a popular campaign promise of President Trump’s, but one that hasn’t gotten a ton of traction yet in Washington.

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  • 75% of those surveyed said Congress and Trump “need to do more” on drug prices; just under 10% said they’ve done enough.

And side note… because of course… less than two weeks after Trump’s inauguration, look who’s the star guest at the WH drug industry meeting:

Switzerland’s Novartis said its chief executive Joe Jimenez, chairman-elect of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), would be among those attending, after the White House announced the meeting on Monday.…

Jimenez said last week that he wanted to talk to Trump about efforts to develop outcomes-based pricing models, which would pay for clinical results rather than a flat price per pill, as well as plans to replace Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as “Obamacare”.

www.businessinsider.com/…

And double because of course, side note: Jimenez is also a former advisor to Blackstone and as you may know, the current CEO (Stephen A. Schwarzman) of said cesspool chaired Trump’s Strategic & Policy Forum and is now Trump’s primary advisor on and link to China. He’s also close to the Kushners and sat on the board of Putin’s “Russian Direct Investment Fund.” But I digress.

Just another day in our particularly snafu’d post-2016 sector of the multiverse. In an only slightly different reality, oh never mind, that’s too depressing.

So, in summary… I sure do wonder what drove that former Novartis CEO to announce his surprise resignation a year ago. Because all Novartis is saying now is that any deal they had with Cohen expired when Jimenez left.

Frankly, my guess is that quite a few people wish they had slipped some cash into Cohen’s hush fund when the gettin was good. Seems like anyone who did had Trump by the short ones. Because of course the vault in question was also protecting porn star payouts, and mail doesn’t get much blacker than that.

Impeachment.

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