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New drug pricing deal could propel us "light years back into the dark ages of biomedical research"

July 6, 2022
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Democratic lawmakers in the U.S. Senate advanced drug pricing legislation today that would drastically alter the Medicare program. Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, President and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), released the following statement: 

“The misguided legislation, which is largely similar to a proposal floated last year, includes risky medical price control tactics that will ultimately harm the very patients and seniors that lawmakers claim to be helping.

“As we’ve previously warned, “negotiation” is simply a euphemism for a government takeover of a sector that, on its own, has been historically successful in saving millions of lives.

"Instead of building and strengthening America’s biotechnology ecosystem, which has proven critical over the last two years in slowing the Covid-19 pandemic and, in doing so, saved American taxpayers roughly one trillion dollars in healthcare costs and tens of millions of lives globally, the legislation released today would dismantle our innovation engine and our global competitiveness, leaving Americans dependent on overseas innovators to address our domestic healthcare needs.

“The bill will no doubt have disproportionate consequences for small biotech companies, which are responsible for the lion's share of medical innovation. These companies – and the millions of Americans who work within the ecosystem – rely on a healthy investment environment to stay afloat and bring lifesaving therapies to patients.

“Government funding is a drop in the investment ocean when each successful drug relies on 90 percent of its funding from private investors. By creating billions of dollars in market distortions, the bill would drastically slow critical investments in future research and development, stalling drug innovation, and ensuring the next generation of groundbreaking therapies remains out of reach for American patients.

“In effect, it will impair future efforts to combat health inequality, attack deadly pandemics, and find cures for debilitating diseases impacting patients. For an administration that claims allegiance to ending healthcare disparities, this is the greatest setback for minority patients in over 100 years.

"We will not achieve health equity without a robust pipeline of new cures. And that pipeline is already beginning to dry up because of the cumulative impact of this administration’s relentless assault on our industry. 

“BIO has long advocated for — and remains committed to — smart, patient-focused legislative solutions that will increase patient access to medicines -- all while preserving and protecting America’s status as the global leader in innovative drug development. The bill accomplishes all of this destruction without saving patients and seniors a single dollar at the pharmacy counter because it does nothing to hold the greedy insurance middlemen accountable for the true source of inflated drug prices.

“Unfortunately, the “solutions” put forward today are anything but. They’re not just a step backward – they could propel us light years back into the dark ages of biomedical research.

“BIO will continue to work alongside lawmakers and the current Administration to find real solutions that help patients and achieve our vision for a healthier, more equitable America."

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