J&J exec says "public plan" would stymie innovation

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Kathleen Buto, VP, health policy, for Johnson & Johnson told a congressional committee the pharmaceutical industry is concerned a public health plan could undermine a market-based system that provides incentives for the long-term research that is needed to find cures for diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

“A government plan that negotiates prices of pharmaceuticals would be more likely to use price controls that would undermine risky and long-term research in important new treatments," she said. "We won't know what hasn't been developed until we look back and wonder why we aren't seeing the breakthroughs we've seen in the past.”

Buto told the Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday that another important provision in the healthcare reform draft relates to establishing a process to make drug and device company payments to physicians more transparent. “We are in favor of greater transparency regarding the relationships between healthcare companies and physicians. We continue to believe such transparency is in the best interest of patients, payers, other stakeholders in healthcare, and the industry itself.”
 
Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson endorsed the Physician Payments Sunshine Act of 2009 (S. 301) introduced by Senators Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

Buto said that Johnson & Johnson will begin voluntarily providing information about the payments that they make to physicians on their respective websites beginning in the first half of 2010. Reporting will be expanded to include Johnson & Johnson's medical devices and diagnostics companies and will reflect the general provisions of S. 301 by June 30, 2011.

Regarding comparative effectiveness, Buto said the overall effort will be better served if the entity is a public-private partnership, with transparency of methods and processes, inclusion of stakeholders, and a focus on clinical comparative effectiveness research. “Such an entity will provide information that will allow the market to determine the relationship between clinical value and cost,” said Buto.
 
She added: “There are benefits of having a public-private entity, including leveraging additional research dollars of physician and academic organizations and industry, creating a strong and broad-based constituency for sustainable funding, and building the trust and collaboration needed for the entity to succeed.”

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