AbbVie is dropping its membership at leading industry trade groups Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and the broader Business Roundtable association of chief executives.
AbbVie did not give a reason for dropping the memberships, saying only in a statement: “We regularly evaluate our memberships with industry trade associations and our most recent assessment led us to decide not to renew our membership with select trade associations.”
The news was reported first by Politico.
Endpoints News asked 10 other Big Pharma companies if they are leaving, or considering leaving, PhRMA or any other industry organizations. While not all responded before press time, Eli Lilly and Novartis were among those that said they do not intend to leave any industry groups.
AbbVie’s decision to quit the leading lobbying group comes after a major defeat in Congress this summer with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, creating the ability for Medicare to negotiate drug prices, with its numerous upcoming drug industry affects. The bill will also cap out of pocket expenses for seniors and limit their insulin monthly costs to $35.
PhRMA confirmed AbbVie’s departure to Endpoints in an email and said, in part, that the Big Pharma’s departure “does not change our focus on fighting for solutions patients and our healthcare system need.”
PhRMA and its lobbyists aren’t used to defeat — they had successfully turned back efforts to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices for more than a decade — so the historic loss may have many re-evaluating just what happened.
AbbVie’s CEO Richard Gonzalez faced a grilling from a Senate committee in 2019 over Humira pricing tactics, and he testified again, before the House Oversight committee in May 2021, with reps on both sides of the aisle expressing outrage after internal documents showed how AbbVie originally projected biosimilar competition for its megablockbuster Humira in 2017, but then “employed legally questionable tactics” to delay access to biosimilars until next year.
Gonzalez was among the more than 30 pharma chief executives who signed a letter in early August, sent shortly before the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, citing concerns about the bill’s “attack on medical innovation and the misleading way it is being sold to the American public.”
Editor’s note: The story was updated to reflect that AstraZeneca did not indicate it was, or was not, reviewing its memberships, but only that it had no update about its plans.