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Commonsense Policies Needed to Lower Healthcare Costs and Improve Patient Access While Protecting Drug Development Pipeline

Today, President Biden highlighted the administration’s current and future efforts to lower healthcare costs. The good news is recent efforts to limit out-of-pocket spending are helping some seniors across the country. But there is bad news, too.

Other provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will also have a real — and devastating — impact on Americans seeking new treatments for their conditions. We’ve already seen the setback as biopharmaceutical companies pause, stop, or redirect investments in research.

Under the IRA, government-mandated drug pricing policies threaten the development of new treatments for unmet needs. These policies are estimated to reduce the number of new drugs by 40% over the next 10 years.

Other provisions penalize investment in pills and other small molecules, such as inhalers often used to treat asthma and other respiratory diseases. Doubling down on price-setting and expanding the number of negotiated drugs will only accelerate these losses.

While the administration’s goals to improve care, medication access and affordability for patients with asthma can be applauded and are aligned with many goals We Work For Health supports, this approach is not the answer.

Thanks to innovation and advancements in treatments for respiratory conditions, deaths due to asthma have declined by over 40% in the past two decades.

Yet we can truly prevent avoidable suffering for families like the Schmidtknechts by addressing the perverse middlemen incentives that prioritize profits and pharmacy coverage exclusions over people.

That’s why We Work For Health urges the administration and Congress to focus on policies that address patient access barriers to medicines, reduce utilization management policies, and pass savings along to patients at the pharmacy counter. We need commonsense policies to lower healthcare costs and improve patient access that will not decimate the drug development pipeline.

For patients, families, and the 4.9 million workers supporting the biopharmaceutical industry and positively impacting their economies, this is not just a matter of taking a breath. For these families, employees, and local economies, it is a matter of life or death.


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