This week in the drug price shuffle. Following Pfizer’s decision to (temporarily) hit the pause button on planned drug price hikes following political pressure from the Trump administration, drug giant Novartis is taking similar (temporary) measures, vowing no further increases for the rest of this year. (That won’t do anything to undo the price increases the firm already implemented earlier in 2018.) As I’ve reported earlier, a one-by-one, name-and-shame approach to dealing with high drug prices is unlikely to have a broader systemic effect on how much patients have to pay for their medicine. But that’s not the only bit of news in the world of drug prices—The FDA is reportedly considering measures to allow, on a very limited basis, the importation of drugs from abroad in the case of massive price hikes. More on that later.
Mersana shares plummet on clinical trial patient death. Shares of biotech Mersana plummeted 33% in Thursday trading after the FDA placed a partial clinical hold on the firm’s experimental cancer drug. It’s unclear whether or not the drug specifically caused the death. But on a broader level, it’s worth noting the investing risk for companies that don’t have assets that are actually in the clinic and have been tested in humans.