AstraZeneca CEO Warns US Pricing Rules Will Delay New Drugs

 US legislation requiring price negotiation for top-selling medicines will delay the launch of new drugs, warned AstraZeneca Plc Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot.

The law, which empowers the US government to negotiate prices with drugmakers on the most expensive prescription drugs as soon as nine years after they hit the market

will slow access to life-saving treatments for patients, Soriot said in an interview broadcast by Reuters.

“Companies will delay the longshot new product in late line indications,” Soriot said, referring to the process whereby promising medications win initial approvals to benefit patients with late-stage disease -- 

before enough data are available to support broader use.

“That’s unfortunate because patients will suffer, but companies will have no choice because you have to protect your ability to invest in future R&D,” he added.

Pharma companies have been critical of the legislation, which aims to make drugs more affordable, on the grounds that it will stifle innovation and harm patients.

Soriot said he hopes the rules can be modified, as “it will create a few reactions or behaviors that are not healthy for anybody.”