Ways and Means Republicans Discuss Danger of Dem’s Socialist Drug Price Controls

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Tuesday, October 19th, 2021, 10:10 AM PERMALINK

Last week, Ways and Means Committee Republicans held a meeting to discuss the Democrats’ socialist drug price-setting plan, which House Democrats have included in their $3.5 trillion tax and spend reconciliation bill. This plan, H.R. 3, creates a 95 percent excise tax on manufacturers and imposes an international reference pricing scheme that directly imports foreign price controls into the U.S.  

This legislation would stifle innovation, limit Americans’ access to new cures and treatments, would cost high-paying jobs across the country, and would reduce the United States’ global dominance in medical innovation. 

As noted by Ways and Means Committee Republican Leader Kevin Brady (R-Texas), this dangerous proposal would lead to the development of hundreds of fewer lifesaving cures and treatments: 

The Democrats’ policies set up a dangerous trade-off: lower prices for some drugs for some people in the short-term in exchange for hundreds of fewer cures in the long-term. It also puts Washington in control of Americans’ medical decisions. As Republicans, we reject that premise. Every analysis of this price setting policy says it will result in Americans getting fewer cures. Every single analysis… 

According to the University of Chicago, Democrats’ price setting scheme would destroy up to 60 percent or, to put a number on it, 342 cures in research and development, including for devastating diseases like Alzheimers, Parkinson’s, ALS, and diabetes. The very diseases that every family is acquainted with in some way, and I think all are praying and hoping for a cure. The truth is — one lost cure is one too many” 

This is not surprising, as foreign countries that utilize price controls suffer through less medical innovation, leading to fewer cures and healthcare shortages for American patients.

The U.S. is currently a world leader when it comes to medical innovation. According to research by the Galen Institute, 290 new medical substances were launched worldwide between 2011 and 2018. The U.S. had access to 90 percent of these cures, a rate far greater than comparable foreign countries. By comparison, the United Kingdom had access to 60 percent of medicines, Japan had 50 percent, and Canada had just 44 percent.

Amicus Therapeutics’ CEO John Crowley, who testified at the meeting noted that is daughter and son, Megan and Patrick Crowley, were diagnosed with Pompe disease, a neuromuscular genetic disease. Doctors told Crowley that his children were unlikely to live past the age of two.

Crowley left his job in finance and created Amicus Therapeutics, a company which researches and develops drugs for those with rare diseases. Thanks to the successful development of new treatments, both of Crowley’s children are thriving adults. However, Crowley expressed concern that H.R. 3 would mean the next generation of lifesaving cures would never be developed: 

“[This plan] would lead to more death and more suffering. Maybe not immediately, but in the days and years and decades ahead. I think about future families who would have a child born with a rare, devastating disease, and they're going to ask the same questions we did 23 years ago. Where is the research? Who has an idea? What can we do for our child? And I'm afraid, if any of this legislation passes and price controls are put on the industry... that would drain research and development dollars. I’m afraid… that would be a mistake for the ages.” 

Republican Leader of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), explained that the “Democrats have presented our country with a false choice. They say that to bring the cost of drugs, we have to take back government control of prices. That we must sacrifice our world-leading innovation in treatments and cures to lower costs at the pharmacy counter for seniors.” 

H.R. 3 would harm American patients and degrade America’s world-leading role in medical innovation. ATR applauds the Ways and Means Committee Republicans for highlighting the importance of medical innovation and fighting against the Democrats’ socialist health care agenda.  

Photo Credit: "Kevin Brady" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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