Good Day BIO: Biden calls for drug price controls

August 13, 2021
Of course we’re talking about drug price controls on Friday the 13th. We have the details on what President Biden said yesterday about drug pricing, BIO’s take, and several examples of why this is absolutely the wrong move. (718 words, 3 minutes, 35 seconds)
BIO

Of course we’re talking about drug price controls on Friday the 13th. We have the details on what President Biden said yesterday about drug pricing, BIO’s take, and several examples of why this is absolutely the wrong move. (718 words, 3 minutes, 35 seconds)

 

President Biden calls for drug price controls

 
 

President Joe Biden yesterday announced a slew of drug pricing reforms—including changes that would radically alter Medicare program for seniors and people with disabilities. Here are the details and what BIO says about it.

The White House supports drug price controls, President Biden said in remarks yesterday

Specifically, the White House is calling for allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, “for a subset of expensive drugs that don’t face any competition in the market,” says the fact sheet. “Medicare negotiators would be provided a framework for what constitutes a fair price for each drug, and there should be powerful incentives to make sure drug companies agree to a reasonable price.”  

In other words, price controls—which, as we’ve explained again and again and again, won’t work. 

He also repeated myths about the high costs of prescription drugs in the U.S.—which we’ve refuted

He did acknowledge “the groundbreaking and lifesaving work that many pharmaceutical companies are doing,” especially during the pandemic, and called for an out-of-pocket cap for Medicare beneficiaries (which BIO supports). 

But price controls will impede this lifesaving work in the future, by creating massive barriers to medical innovation and making it more difficult for small, innovative biotech companies to attract the investment they need to discover future vaccines, treatments, and cures. 

Masters’ Message: BIO has made clear our desire to advocate for policy reforms that lower patient spending at the pharmacy counter without compromising scientific advancement and the support needed to usher in the next generation of cures and breakthrough medicines. Unfortunately, the president’s plan is no such reform. We hope the White House reconsiders this plan and look forward to working with the president and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to find bipartisan solutions that benefit patients today AND tomorrow. Rich Masters, BIO’s Chief Public Affairs and Advocacy Officer

Read BIO’s full statement. 

 
 
 
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But the biopharmaceutical industry continues its lifesaving work…

 
 

While President Biden is calling for policy that would harm future biopharmaceutical innovation, biotech companies continue that lifesaving work to beat the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s some news we were cheering this week.

Recent data shows the authorized vaccines remain highly effective, including against the Delta variant. Among the latest headlines, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is 71% effective at preventing hospitalizations and 96% effective at preventing death from Delta, according to preliminary data from South Africa, and Moderna’s protection holds for at least six months.

And Pfizer’s partner BioNTech was able to create a vaccine to specifically target Delta “in just a few weeks,” FastCompany reports. “Because the company uses mRNA technology—a type of vaccine that uses the genetic code for a key protein in the virus to teach the body to make that protein and learn how to fight it off—editing the vaccine involves a relatively simple change in the code.” 

Meanwhile, Novavax is seeking emergency use authorization in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines—all countries in urgent need of vaccines, per AP. And new data shows the jab could be the “universal booster of choice,” said Novavax CEO Stanley Erck. 

With the pandemic continuing to rage, we need all the tools we can get. Inovio is launching its vaccine trial next month in Latin America, Asia Pacific, and possibly Africa.  

But just one more reminder: drug price controls will make it harder for these innovators, large and small, to obtain the investment needed to continue this research.

 
 
 
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I am BIO: Meet Dr. Mo

I am BIO: Meet Dr. Mo
 
 

It’s National Health Center Week—so we’re honoring one health center hero we know: Dr. Mo Ali, who put his work on hold as Merck’s Associate Vice President of Global Market Access to help the UK’s National Health Service treat COVID-19 patients at the start of the pandemic.

Watch Dr. Mo tell his story at I am BIO.

 
 
 
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BIO Beltway Report
BIO Beltway Report
 
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President Biden’s Friday: Traveling to Camp David. Meanwhile, CNN looks at his struggle to find someone to lead the FDA

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Congress remains in recess with the Senate returning to full session on Monday, September 13 and the House returning to session on the week of August 23, instead of September 20 as originally scheduled, per The Hill. The early return of the House is to vote on the $3.5 billion budget bill as well as on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed in the Senate, according to CBS News.

 
 
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