How drug prices spurred a shouting match between 2 pharma CEOs

The Forbes Healthcare Summit, which took placeoccurred in New York City last week, featured an unlikely critic of high drug prices: Regeneron Pharmaceutical's CEO Leonard Schleifer.

During a panel entitled "Restoring Pharma's Reputation," Mr. Schleifer accused fellow pharmaceutical executives — sitting on stage with him — of raising drug prices to hide a lack of innovation, reports Bloomberg.

"The real reason we're not liked, in my opinion, is because we as an industry have used price increases to cover up the gaps in innovation. That's just a fact," he said during the discussion, according to the report. "It's ridiculous ... I hate us also when I see all this stuff."

Joining Mr. Schleifer on the panel were Ian Read, CEO of Pfizer; David Ricks, incoming CEO of Eli Lilly & Co.; Jim Robinson, president of U.S. operations for Astellas Pharma and John Milligan, PhD, CEO of Gilead Sciences.

Mr. Read responded to Mr. Schleifer's comments saying that despite individual price increases, "the total cost of drugs as a percentage of healthcare has not changed in two decades," according to Business Insider.

The discussion quickly turned into a shouting match, which ended when another panelist jumped in to say the drug industry should present a unified message regarding drug prices. As the conversation continued, Mr. Read and Mr. Schleifer found common ground regarding issues with unfairly low drug prices in Europe.

The two men embraced after the panelists left the stage, reports Business Insider.


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