Health Reform: The Drug Industry’s Big Win

March 22, 2010 – 9:18 am
Robert LangrethBio |
Robert Langreth is a senior editor at Forbes, in charge of health care coverage

The biggest winner in the historic health reform bill that passed the House late last night are millions of uninsured Americans who are unable to afford  coverage or have been denied coverage because they suffer from chronic disease.

Parsing what the legislation means to industry will take months. But among big businesses,  Pfizer, Amgen and other big drug companies are emerging as big winners. Drug companies supported health reform and in return will gain access to millions of more customers who suddenly can afford to pay for $100,000 a year cancer drugs. Biotech companies gained an extra layer of protection for protein based drugs from potential generic competition. The industry avoided its worst fear:  price controls or other new  government drug price negotiations.

The situation is more complicated for HMOs and insurers like UnitedHealth, Wellpoint, and Aetna. They also avoided their worst nightmare, a big public plan that would directly compete with their private plans. That’s the good news.  The bad: some companies will get hit hard by cuts to Medicare Advantage, while others, like Wellpoint, could lose market share in the individual insurance market.

For more, see Health Reform’s Winners And Losers.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 23rd March 2010

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