Dr. Peter Bach

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Dr. Peter Bach is the Director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and a paid consultant for pharmaceutical companies and the health insurance industry.

“Drug price watchdog”

Dr. Bach is frequently quoted in the media about drug pricing issues and often targets drugs for being “too expensive.” In 2012, for example, Dr. Bach penned an op-ed for the New York Times to attack the price of the then-new cancer drug Zaltrap, yet he disclosed he was working for Genentech, which makes a competing drug, Avastin.[1] This conflict of interest was criticized in April 2016 in the Huffington Post. [2]

Robert Goldberg of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest has called Bach the “Donald Trump of health care policy…a master of enchanting his followers with outrageous statements that scapegoat easy targets and unfairly attack them for acts of greed that you are actually guilty of committing.”[3]

In another op-ed Bach wrote for the Washington Post[4] in 2015, the footnote listed numerous sources of funding for his work from the industry, including:

Dollars for Docs found that Dr. Bach has received more than $13,000[5] in payments for consulting services from drugmaker Genentech Inc.

Relationship with the Arnold Foundation

In February 2016, Bach received a grant to lead an initiative called the “Evidence Driven Drug Pricing Project” for $4.7 million from the Arnold Foundation</ref> for public employees. Since receiving the grant, ICER has more than doubled its staff.[6], a Houston-based group funded by former Enron trader John Arnold. The foundation has been widely criticized for its attempts to “gut retirement security” [7] for public employees.

According to Jordan Marks, executive director of the AFL-CIO backed National Public Pension Coalition, non-profits that took money from the Arnold Foundation have “rented their credibility to a right-wing ideologue…” [8] The Foundation tactically exploits public policy areas with “big opportunities for any funder that does move aggressively into this niche.”[9]

Relationship with the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER)

On March 16, 2015, ICER awarded Dr. Peter Bach with its annual Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) National Leadership Award. [10]

ICER is best known for its drug assessment reports, which set their own “value-based” prices for newly approved prescription drugs entering the market. It provides a new perspective on drug pricing, but it also provides cover for payers to exclude prescription medications from formularies or implement burdensome prior-authorizations in order to effectively prevent patients from accessing new, and often expensive, medicines.

In September 2015, ICER released an initial report[1] strongly criticizing the pricing of new drugs that treat high-cholesterol. A month later, Express Scripts, whose decisions affect tens of millions of patients[11], required that both available PCSK9 drugs “be subject to extensive prior authorization and step therapy.”[12] This move kept costs low and revenues (more than $100 billion in 2015) high for the company, which “rejected most prescriptions for the drugs.”[13]