As we generally have in the past, we keep a weather-eye here — on what Kenilworth seeks from the halls of our Congress, and how much it spends, in doing it. Two caveats, by way of perspective, here: (i) it is a Presidential election year afterall, so much is in play (so much must be spent, at least arguably, to protect Merck’s policy positions); and (ii) Pfizer will have spent over $4 million in the quarter, in all likelihood (as ever, not all of Mr. Read’s filings are in at the Senate’s electronic disclosure desk, yet).
Even so, this is a rather amazing leap in spending — more than doubling compared to the last few regular quarters’ spends — by Merck. Here is some of the detail, just so you know:
. . . .340B (no specific bill), Hepatitis C (general education; no specific bill), general vaccine policies (no specific bill), antimicrobial resistance (general education and DISARM (H.R. 4187), biosimilars (no specific bill), 21st Century Cures (H.R.6), Senate Innovation Project (no bill number), value of medicines (no specific bill), general pharmaceutical issues. . . .
Comprehensive tax reform (no specific bill), international tax proposals (no specific bill), orphan drug legislation (S.1128), base erosion (no specific bill), territorial tax system (no specific bill), tax extenders bill. . . .
Medicare Part D (general education, no specific bill), changes to low-income subsidy structure in Medicare Part D (general education, no specific bill), Medicare Part B (general education, no specific bill); Medicaid (no specific bill). . . .
Patent reform (H.R. 9, the Innovation Act; S.632, the STRONG Patents Act). . . .
General animal health issues. . . .
Issues relating to the further development of antibiotics and antimicrobials for serious and unmet medical needs; Issues relating to 340b Drug Pricing Program; Antibiotics/stewardship; Value of prescription drugs. . . .
Trans-Pacific Partnership, data exclusivity for biologics. . . .
Medicare reimbursement; Low-income subsidy in Part D; Part B reimbursement and coding. . . .
I do read that bolded bit as tantamount to a defense of the pricing policies Merck (and Pfizer) employ in the United States. To be fair, these companies are innovators, not knock-off artists — like Valeant, Actavis and Turing (IMHO). So it goes — as we wish Viator (a/k/a Prince a/k/a Prince Rogers Nelson) a peaceful ride out of the Universe this noon-time. Travel easy; travel light. . . Only 57 — too young, was he. . . . Whoosh, and gone. Out for a breezy plaza lunch in the warm Spring sunshine here, now — but still smiling. . . .