In times of uncertainty, it's said "better the devil you know than the devil you don't."
Since the election, the prevailing sentiment in the drug industry has been just the opposite. The reversal of the old adage explains the industry's reaction to Donald Trump's election: a rally of almost 10 percent since Nov 8.
"It was not so much of an issue of, 'Well, we know what we're getting on both sides, and we prefer a Trump administration,'" said Ron Cohen, CEO of Acorda Therapeutics and executive committee chair of the industry group BIO. "It's that we're not exactly sure what we're getting with a Trump administration, and it's fairly clear what the implications would be of a Clinton administration."
What the drug industry expected under a President Hillary Clinton: a continued focus on drug prices, with potential legislative changes in the offing. The slide in biotech stocks, after a five-year runup, can be traced to Clinton's focus on what she called predatory pricing practices in the industry, including a September 2015 tweet in which she vowed to lay out a plan to take the drug industry on.
"The narrative during the election about biotech and pharma I think created what markets and many of us perceived as a political overhang on the value of our stocks and the value of innovation," said Jeff Jonas, CEO of Sage Therapeutics. "We all saw it had a very negative effect on the valuations of all of our companies."