How do you engage with big pharma on global drug pricing?

Staci West 01/09/2023 in Sustainable investing

David Harrison, manager of Rathbone Greenbank Global Sustainability, explains the balancing act of healthcare innovation and rising drug prices from a sustainability point of view and why engagement is key.

Listen to the full podcast interview with David Harrison, episode 274.

Learn more about the Rathbone Greenbank Global Sustainability fund

David Harrison: So, I think, absolutely, when you look at global drug pricing, there’s huge disparities and this is something we engage with. We started in the Covid period – engaging with healthcare, pharmaceutical businesses, you know, testing companies around the availability and pricing of drugs and testing – this is something that won’t be solved in three or six months. It’s longterm engagement and it’s something we actively do, not just the fund ourselves, we do it across the unit trust business and Rathbones as a group. We generally find that actually the health, the pharmaceutical businesses, they’re more receptive. But still there’s a long way to go. It’s clearly something that we need, you know you can’t rely on just on generics coming in and then making that price cheaper. It’s something that we do engage on, but it’s something that will take three to five years. I would say though, certainly if you think about the companies we own in the fund, Merck and AstraZeneca are the kind of two traditional drug makers, as it were. They have been very receptive and they’re willing to work with us and others in the industry, but it’s something that we need to keep engaging on.

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