Yesterday, House Democrats reintroduced H.R. 3, the sweeping drug pricing bill that would handicap future medical innovation—at a time when we need it the most.
In a nutshell, H.R. 3 would require drug manufacturers to negotiate prices with the government based on an international price index of prices paid in several other countries—here’s Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s fact sheet explaining what’s in the bill.
Yes, it’s the same H.R. 3—which House Democrats passed in 2019 and was stalled in the then-Republican-controlled Senate.
When the bill was introduced the first time, an analysis found international reference pricing would lead to as many as 56 fewer new drugs over 10 years.
The absence of price controls in the U.S. leads to more and newer medicines available sooner to Americans. For example, of 65 new oncology drugs launched between 2011-2017, 95% were available in the United States, compared to 75% in the UK and 51% in Japan—two countries on the proposed price index.
We’ve seen this in practice over the last year—with the majority of new COVID-19 drugs being developed by U.S. companies, and Americans getting access to vaccines before many wealthy, equally developed countries.
And it would “directly inhibit” the ability of small biotechs to attract investment needed to bring cures to market, Rachel King, Co-Founder and CEO of BIO member GlycoMimetics, explained last year. “If we change the incentives and if we decrease the incentives for investing in new drugs, the money will flow out of the biotechnology industry and the United States risks losing its lead position,” said King, whose company is developing new treatments for various blood diseases.
Masters’ Message: More than a year into this deadly pandemic, we’ve seen firsthand the importance of empowering our nation’s researchers to find the scientific solutions we need to keep humanity safe and healthy. Unfortunately, this proposal, as a de-facto price control measure, would handicap future medical innovation—including for future pandemics—and destroy hope for millions of patients living with diseases for which no cures or viable treatments currently exist. – Rich Masters, BIO’s Chief Public Affairs & Advocacy Officer
So, what’s next? We’ll be watching this closely as it moves through the Democrat-controlled House and Senate. BIO has been—and remains—committed to working with lawmakers on patient-centered reforms that boost access to lifesaving medicines and treatments without compromising the next generation of lifesaving cures.
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