PhRMA Names Gilead CEO O’Day as New Board Chair Following Loss of Members

Board room

Pictured: Photo of an empty board room/iStock, ismagilov

Industry group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America on Wednesday named Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O’ Day as the new chair of its board of directors.

O’Day said in a statement that he will strive to “advance solutions that protect the innovation ecosystem” as well as “ensure that medicines are affordable for everyone.” The Gilead chief succeeds Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan, who had chaired the industry group since February 2023.

“With the right policies, and the outstanding talent in the biopharmaceutical research industry, our country can continue to lead the world in scientific innovation,” O’Day added.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla and Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson will serve alongside O’Day, becoming PhRMA’s board chair-elect and treasurer, respectively.

These changes to PhRMA’s leadership follow the loss of multiple high-profile members and top executives over the past 18 months, and as the industry puts up a united legal front against Medicare's Drug Price Negotiation Program under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Signed into law by President Biden in August 2022, the IRA aims to save some $25 billion in drug cost spending annually. Key to achieving this goal is the negotiation program, which empowers the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to negotiate the prices of some of the most widely prescribed drugs, with the new pricing to take effect in 2026.

The Biden administration kicked off this process earlier this month, submitting its initial maximum fair price proposals for the 10 drugs selected to be part of the first round of negotiations. Companies have 30 days to either agree with the suggested pricing or submit a counteroffer. Negotiations will run through Aug. 1, 2024 and CMS is due to publish the final agreed-upon prices by Sept. 1, 2024.

Hudson in PhRMA’s announcement on Wednesday alluded to the Drug Price Negotiation Program—among other federal policies—as “misaligned incentives in the healthcare system” that, instead of helping to lower drug costs, “make medicines to unaffordable for patients.”

“Our industry has taken important steps to lower patients’ out-of-pocket costs, but we need policymakers to do their part as well,” Hudson said in a statement. “I am hopeful that working together—industry, policymakers and other key stakeholders—we can build a better, more affordable health care system for all patients.”

Pharma companies, PhRMA and other trade groups have sued the federal government to block the IRA. Merck filed the first lawsuit in June 2023 and it has since been followed by other industry heavy-hitters, including Boehringer Ingelheim, AstraZeneca, BMS and J&J.

PhRMA—along with the Global Colon Cancer Association and National Infusion Center Association—has also sued the federal government to stop the IRA, but the case was dismissed last week by a Texas judge on the grounds of improper venue.

Meanwhile, a federal court in New Jersey on Tuesday ruled that BMS, J&J’s Janssen, Novartis and Novo Nordisk can present their oral arguments challenging the IRA in a single hearing, which has been scheduled for March 7, 2024.

Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. Reach out to him on LinkedIn or email him at or

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