Lawmakers should focus on solutions that directly support affordability, accessibility and innovation
Washington, DC (March 9, 2023) – We Work For Health Co-Chairs Tom Kowalski and Rolf Benirschke released the following statement in response to President Biden’s focus on the expansion of Medicare drug pricing negotiations in the administration’s proposed federal budget:
“The Biden Administration’s proposed expansion of drug price controls reinforces the need to evaluate policies based on how they impact people they are intended to help. First, the good: Capping out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35 in Medicare, which Congress included in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), is good and directly benefits millions of seniors. Equally good and important is capping overall out-of-pocket costs at $2,000 in 2025 – a landmark achievement.
“But there’s a clear difference between policies that help people and those that are political in nature and lead to unintended consequences. Case in point is price setting, which does little to impact how much Americans pay for prescription drugs at the pharmacy counter and undermines the incentives that are in place to spur development of new treatments for hard-to-treat diseases. We’ve already started to see troubling pipeline announcements from companies that indicate the impact of price setting provisions, including oncology drugs being removed from development because they don’t meet investment thresholds. The irony isn’t lost that, even as the Cancer Moonshot initiative to cut cancer mortality in half is being promoted, the IRA is causing several oncology drugs to be taken out of development – drugs that could have helped this important initiative.
“Further, the rush to expand drug pricing negotiations even before the IRA takes effect diverts the focus off the real drivers of high out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, including pharmacy benefit managers and insurer practices. As we know, patients benefit from good policies that consider all aspects of how prescription drugs are priced.
“No one shares a bigger commitment to improving the health and well-being of neighbors, friends and family more than biopharmaceutical innovators and their dedicated employees across the United States. As the Administration moves forward with implementing the IRA, we believe it’s important to continue having conversations on policies that will keep jobs in local communities, keep states competitive in the global economy and address the real drivers of high out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.
“We firmly believe that affordability, accessibility and innovation are inextricably linked, and we stand ready to work with President Biden and the 118th Congress to find solutions that support all three.”
About We Work For Health
We Work For Health (WWFH) is a coalition of partners that collaborates with biopharmaceutical research companies, vaccine manufacturers, their employees and local businesses to improve the health and well-being of patients. The program helps to support policies and initiatives that reinforce the delivery of lifesaving advances in medicine while also promoting the critical importance of high-paying jobs and the impact of the biopharmaceutical sector on national, state and local economies.