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What a “blue sweep” means for the pharmaceutical industry – Commerzbank column

There is no doubt that the pandemic and the associated recession have increased the desire for “more state” and a better health system in large parts of the US population. This, too, plays into the cards of the presidential candidate Joe Biden (as does the behavior of the incumbent US president, among others). There was no question that the Democrats could defend their majority in the House of Representatives. In the meantime, however, the chances of a so-called “blue sweep” (Biden becomes President and in both chambers, in future also in the Senate, the Democrats will have a majority) have increased significantly. For this reason, some of the party program items that particularly affect the health industry are outlined here. Among other things, Biden plans to increase corporate income tax from 21% to 28% and to double the tax rate on profits of foreign branches of US companies to 21%. In addition, the state health insurance is to be further expanded by lowering the entry age for Medicare from 65 to 60 years and making access to Medicaid easier for low-income citizens. In addition, Medicare should be allowed to negotiate drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies. These should then also apply to private insurances and a maximum price should be determined depending on the prices in other countries. This is likely to put the prices at least for established drugs under pressure and, in combination with the higher tax burden, lead to an erosion of the profits of some pharmaceutical companies, which would consequently also mean lower dividend payouts, share buybacks and M&A transactions. On the positive side, it should be noted that stocks in the pharmaceuticals sector have therefore been developing relatively weaker for some time and should therefore have already priced in a lot.

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