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SAN FRANCISCO – For a moment at the biggest biotech conference of the year, drug companies found themselves lambasted by one of their own.

“We’ve done all these great things, yet we’re hated,” Regeneron CEO Leonard Schleifer said during his presentation at the JPMorgan Healthcare Investor Conference. “We talk about doing things right, but I’m going to tell you I don’t think we do.”

Schleifer, who is emerging as an unconventional critic of drug companies that hike prices, struck a dramatically different tone than other pharmaceutical executives here. When asked about mounting pressure from Washington to stop dramatic price hikes, most CEOs pointed to the value their medications bring to patients.

Companies shouldn’t hike prices more than medical inflation “just because you can,” said Sanofi chief executive Olivier Brandicourt. But he added a massive caveat: When those drugs are hugely helpful to those who use them.

“When you work in favor of the patients because you are creating very sophisticated tools for patients, you have the right to go above medical inflation based on value,” Brandicourt said.

“We’re very committed to making sure our products are priced appropriately,” said Patrick Vallance, president of research and development at GlaxoSmithKline.

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Giovanni Caforio acknowledged there’s a growing “dialogue” around high drug prices. But he said what’s important is focusing on medicines “that are truly transformational and add value to patients.”

But to Schleifer, if lawmakers keep pressuring the pharmaceutical industry for more affordably-priced products, it’s partly the fault of drug makers themselves. It’s up to the industry to take the first step, he said.

“We’re going to have to convince them we’re an industry that has to survive, but we have to convince them by doing the right thing,” Schleifer told the Washington Examiner.

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Pharmaceutical companies are eyeing the incoming administration warily, after President-elect Trump promised on the campaign trail to crack down on drug prices. He even went so far as to push an idea popular among Democrats but hated by the industry — allowing the federal government to negotiate lower prices with Medicare’s Part D prescription drug program.

It’s unlikely Trump’s administration will try seriously to advance that idea, with Republican majorities in Congress and conservative Tom Price as head of the Department of Health and Human Services.

But Trump, known for his populist appeal, may push for other measure putting downward pressure on pricing, said Ipsita Smolinski, managing director of healthcare research firm Capitol Street.

“I think, as we learned from the campaign, Trump was able to connect with Americans who live in the middle of the country and may not have high wages, and drug prices are still a concern for them,” Smolinski said. “So I could see him wanting to do something even if it’s not Part D negotiation.”

Still, drug makers would have faced much more pricing pressure had Hillary Clinton won the election, as the Democratic nominee had rolled out a detailed proposal that would have given the federal government more authority to monitor companies and fine them for big price hikes.

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Executives said it’s too early to tell exactly how Trump will approach the issue — but said that offering breakthrough medications is a way of barricading themselves from outside attacks.

“If you’re at the front edge of breakthrough, if you’re at truly innovative medicine, it’s not that you won’t be affected, but I think the impact is likely to be less,” said Roche Pharma CEO Daniel O’Day.

Companies need to self-regulate and be self-disciplined, said Allergan CEO Brenton Saunders.

“I think you’re starting to see the beginning of companies doing that, so I’m optimistic,” Saunders told the Washington Examiner. “We’re not there yet, but I’m optimistic that’s where we’re going.”

But progress in that direction may be slow. In the past year, Congress hauled in insurance executives to explain a 600 percent price hike for Mylan’s EpiPen and why Valeant Pharmaceuticals raised prices of several longstanding drugs shortly after acquiring them.

And some companies are hiking their drug prices well above medical inflation. Last January, Pfizer raised its prices 10.4 percent on average. Schleifer, whose company Regeneron hasn’t raised the prices of any of its medication since their launch, is trying to convince more of his fellow executives to take action before policymakers step in.

“Making promises that we’re not going to raise prices more than 10 percent and then raising them by 9.9 percent is not the answer,” he said.

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President Barack Obama patted himself on the back and thanked his supporters in his final address to the nation Tuesday night, while calling on the country to “forge a new social contract” in the era of his Republican successor.

“Every day I have learned from you,” the outgoing president told Americans from crowded auditorium in the Windy City. “You made me a better president. You made me a better man.”

Standing before his wife Michelle and two teenage daughters, Obama urged Americans to “pay attention and listen” to each other.

“For white Americans, this means acknowledging that the effects of slavery and Jim Crow didn’t suddenly vanish in the 1960s,” he said, noting that race “remains a potent and often divisive force

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