Good Day BIO: 2 things about drug prices (and 1 about jobs)
June 10, 2022
Before we head to the BIO International Convention, we have news on inflation and health care costs, the FTC’s plans to investigate pharmacy middlemen, and booming life sciences job growth. And be sure to check your inbox on Monday morning—we’ll be coming to you live…
The only newsletter at the intersection of biotech, politics, and policy
June 10, 2022
Before we head to the BIO International Convention, we have news on inflation and health care costs, the FTC’s plans to investigate pharmacy middlemen, and booming life sciences job growth. And be sure to check your inbox on Monday morning—we’ll be coming to you live from San Diego with something special! In the meantime, you can follow along on bio.news. (695 words, 3 minutes, 28 seconds)
2 things about drug prices
Overall inflation isn’t hitting drug prices and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will finally investigate prescription drug middlemen. Here’s what we know.
As of April 2022, “overall prices grew by 8.3% from the previous year, while prices for medical care increased by only 3.2%. This is unusual, as health prices historically outpace prices in the rest of the economy,” says the report.
What had the largest increases: prices for inpatient hospital services (3.7%), nursing homes (3.6%), and outpatient hospital services (3.3%) all rose faster than overall medical care (3.2%).
What had the lowest increases: prescription drugs (1.7%) and physician services (1.2%).
PBMs manage prescription drug benefits on behalf of insurers,as we’ve reported—and the six largest are “now vertically integrated with the largest health insurance companies and wholly owned mail order and specialty pharmacies,” says the FTC.
How it will work: The PBMs will be required to “provide information and records regarding their business practices. The agency’s inquiry will scrutinize the impact of vertically integrated pharmacy benefit managers on the access and affordability of prescription drugs”—FTC has more details.
The return to the in-person BIO International Convention brings many exciting IRL activities—including the I am BIO Media Bar, where you can meet the team behind your favorite BIO news and communications products and share your biotechnology journey!
Here’s how you can make your mark:
Share your biotechnology journey in a quick I am BIO video—and inspire the next generation of biotech!
The life sciences sector is booming, but companies need talent, says report
More people in the U.S. are employed by the life sciences than ever before, with demand continuing to grow—but with low unemployment in the sector, finding talent can be difficult, says a new report from CBRE (H/T Axios).
The key finding: The number of people engaged in life sciences research grew 79% between 2001-2021, compared with 8% growth for all other occupations in the U.S., says commercial real estate and investment firm CBRE. The sector has the second-lowest unemployment rate (0.6%).
CBRE has identified 25 clusters of life sciences talent—including the major hubs of Boston/Cambridge, Raleigh-Durham, and the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as smaller pockets of talent like Chicago, Denver/Boulder, Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
There are many “emerging” talent pools, too—including Salt Lake City, Nashville, Columbus, Albuquerque, and Tucson.
Looking ahead: “The U.S. educational system continues to produce a record number of students with the skills to meet the demands of this sector and to fuel its ongoing growth, sustaining the U.S.’s position as a global leader in the life sciences industry,” CBRE concludes.
But without investment and support, including talent development, “the United States at risk of forfeiting its world-leading position and squandering the entrepreneurial drive and capital market interest that is trying to expand the bioeconomy,” said a recent report from the Schmidt Futures Task Force on Synthetic Biology and the Bioeconomy (with input from BIO’s Sarah Gallo and Erick Lutt).
Kelly Warfield became interested in science in high school—thanks to her chemistry teacher, Mrs. Griffith.
She thought she wanted to go to medical school, but she realized her calling was discovering and developing new medicines in the lab—and she’s now Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Emergent BioSolutions, whose products include smallpox and anthrax vaccines.
This work has had an impact on families everywhere—including her own, as her husband in the military received several Emergent vaccines.
President Biden’s Friday: The Summit of the Americas continues, where he’s expected to deliver remarks on inflation (1:45 PM ET), join the adoption of a migration declaration, and host a leaders retreat with other heads of state and government. This evening, he’ll attend DNC fundraisers.