09 Mar Pfizer worries over drug studies as Obama weighs health changes
Pfizer Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Kindler told a White House conference the drugmaker supports requiring all Americans be covered by health insurance yet he’s “concerned” about using studies to determine which medicines should be paid by insurance.
“We’re prepared” for compromises in a health-care overhaul, said Kindler, 53, whose New York-based company is the world’s largest drugmaker. While he also supports President Barack Obama’s plans to finance more research into the “comparative effectiveness” of medicines and procedures, “if it is automatically linked to coverage decisions I get concerned.”
The White House conference today brought together insurers, drugmakers, consumers, hospitals, and lawmakers to talk about how to provide affordable medical coverage to everyone while restraining costs. Expanding insurance would make drugs more widely available, while comparison studies may lead government and private insurers to cover cheaper products at the expense of drugmaker profits. Agreeing on tradeoffs like that may be the hardest part of changing the U.S. system, said Pete Davis, president of Davis Capital Investment Ideas in Washington.
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