Pfizer picks fight with NICE

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Pfizer is not happy with the UK's price control group NICE. PharmaTimes reports that the drugmaker assailed the latest pricing list as “a real and growing disconnect between the government's stated ambitions and its actions,” and said the government's focus on costs is shortsighted, in that it sees immediate costs without considering “medicines as a longer term investment,” a strategy Pfizer calls “a short term and damaging approach.” The company notes that NICE has approved just 31% of drugs since 2005 and that even when drugs get the all-clear, the National Health Service is slow to put them in rotation.

The company also indicated that its contributions to the country's health is too little valued, and says the industry as a whole will have provided almost $6.4 billion in price cuts between 2004 and 2014. This is in addition to almost $1.7 billion Pfizer says the industry has turned over due to lost patents.

The PharmaTimes account also indicated an anger that could influence future investment, and the company said the UK wants local R&D but “is not prepared to pay for the life-changing and life-saving medications...[and] such a stance sends the wrong signal for future potential decisions.” Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher took a similar tone in June. Speaking as head of the lobbying group European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, he said transparency requirements could prompt companies to take their R&D cash elsewhere.

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