Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla) has introduced legislation that would import foreign price controls into the U.S. ATR urges Senators not to cosponsor this legislation.
The legislation, known as the Transparent Drug Pricing Act, would institute a price control on medicines so that the list price of a drug cannot exceed the lowest price of the drug in Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, or Germany.
Foreign countries frequently utilize a range of arbitrary and market-distorting policies to determine the cost of medicines – by definition such approaches are price controls. There is no negotiation and foreign governments often force innovators to accept lower prices in a “take-it-or-leave it” proposition. This results in reduced or restricted access to new medicines and higher prices for those medicines that enter the market.
In contrast, the U.S. is a world leader in research & development because the system of healthcare rejects price controls and encourages innovation. As a result, a majority of new medicines are developed and launched in America.
This innovative environment is enormously beneficial to the long-term well-being of Americans and the efficiency of the U.S. healthcare system. In addition, the investment required for research and development of medicines leads to more high-paying jobs and a stronger economy.
Conservative opposition to foreign reference pricing is strong. Nearly 60 groups and activists wrote in opposition to the proposal in a coalition letter led by ATR late last year.
In addition, the administration has recognized the damage that adopting foreign pricing would have on American innovation in a report released in February 2018 by the president’s Council of Economic Advisors:
“If the United States had adopted the centralized drug pricing policy in other developed nations twenty years ago, then the world may not have highly valuable treatments for diseases that required significant investment.”
Importing price controls is the wrong approach. This proposal will suppress competition and innovation and harm American competitiveness and investment. It should be rejected by Senators.