CNBC Marathon explores why pharmaceuticals are so complicated in the United States.
Concerns over prescription drug prices have grown into a big political issue, with nearly one in four Americans saying it’s difficult to afford their medications, according to a March 2019 poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Pharmacies technically set their own prices for generic drugs, but there are other players involved that complicate the process.
Johnson & Johnson, the biggest pharmaceutical company in the U.S. based on market cap, announced in November 2021 it plans to spin off its consumer business into a new publicly traded company by November 2023. Analysts overwhelmingly say it’s a smart business move, but it could also come with some risks.
Meanwhile, the U.S.’s approval of Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm was heralded as a historic triumph in the fight against the memory-robbing disease. But so far, Biogen has reported only a fraction of Aduhelm revenue to meet Wall Street’s expectations. Patients and physicians have been torn over the drug’s murky clinical data and its high price tag. Aduhelm’s lackluster launch has been costly, forcing Biogen to take measures to keep the drug afloat.
For Covid-19 vaccine maker, BioNTech, they had little recognition outside of their hometown of Germany prior to the pandemic. Over a month and a half before the World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic, BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin met with his wife, BioNTech’s co-founder and chief medical officer Özlem Türeci, and together they agreed to redirect most of the company’s resources to developing a vaccine. The founders were confident in the potential of their mRNA technology, which they knew could trigger a powerful immune response. That confidence wasn’t necessarily shared by the broader medical community. No mRNA vaccine or treatment had ever been approved before. But the couple’s timely breakthrough was actually decades in the making.
CNBC Marathon brings together the best of CNBC on YouTube.
00:31 Why U.S. pharmacies overcharge (Published August 2021)
16:35 The rise of BioNTech (Published October 2021)
34:21 Why the biggest pharma company in the U.S. is breaking up (Published January 2022)
45:42 What’s the controversy behind Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug? (Published January 2022)
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Why Pharmaceuticals Are So Complicated In The U.S. | CNBC Marathon
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