A tougher test for this insidethe-Beltway fixer
During his decade-long tenure atop the medical-device manufacturers’ leading trade group, Stephen Ubl proved adept at building bipartisan support for his industry’s positions, even when they seemed highly controversial.
Those skills will be sorely tested this year in his first full year as CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. The group needs to fend off legislative assaults on its drug-pricing policies, which are under intense scrutiny.
Ubl clearly knows his way around Capitol Hill. Before becoming CEO of the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) in 2005, the former aide to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) served as vice president of legislation for the Federation of American Hospitals.
During his last year at AdvaMed, he won a temporary repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s medical-device tax. He also advanced devicemakers’ interests in the proposed 21st Century Cures Act, which is designed to provide faster reviews for new drugs and devices.
Despite consumer and safety advocates’ criticism of the law, Ubl helped build the coalition that won bipartisan support for the bill, which passed the House last July. It probably helped him earn his new job.
But in his new role at PhRMA, he will face his biggest challenge yet. Drug industry pricing policies have been blasted by politicians from both parties. The pressures on the drug industry to curb prices will continue to build in an election year.
“PhRMA faces unprecedented challenges in 2016,” said Paul Keckley, managing director of the Navigant Center for Healthcare Research and Policy Analysis. “At the top of the list, there are the challenges of addressing the widening demand for drug pricing constraint and growing attention to the dubious actions of its more notorious” members, such as Turing and Valeant.
President and CEO
Organization Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
Tenure in Job
Previous position President and CEO, AdvaMed Stephen Ubl