Growing Concern about H.R. 3’s Impact on Innovation

December 6, 2019 11:33 am

The 2020 election will be, at least in part, an election centered around the cost of health care. According to a new Morning Consult poll, 19 percent of voters say health-care issues will be the top issue on their mind when they cast their ballots next year. That figure is third only to economic issues (24 percent) and security issues like terrorism (21 percent).


Candidates must address Americans’ concerns about the rising cost of health care and health insurance, but the Morning Consult survey also offers insight into how voters want lawmakers to handle questions about pharmaceutical pricing and innovation.


Less than one-third of respondents, for example, said they would support a candidate who favors legislation similar to H.R. 3, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) drug-pricing legislation, which is expected to be on the floor next week. Support for a pro-H.R. 3 candidate diminished once respondents learned about the bill’s devastating consequences, like the fact that it would take tens of billions of dollars away from research and development. Specifically, 59 percent of respondents said they would be much less likely to support a bill like H.R. 3 if it “would mean the loss of at least 8-15 treatments and cures over the next 10 years.”


That number is roughly how many cures the Congressional Budget Office has estimated would vanish with implementation of H.R. 3. An analysis by Vital Transformation found H.R.3 would cut revenues to small biopharmaceutical companies by 58 percent, leading to a nearly 90 percent reduction in new medicines developed by small U.S. biotech companies.


And, this week, the White House released a report that estimates H.R. 3 would reduce the number of pharmaceutical innovations on the market by more than 100 over a decade—or, “about one-third of the total number of drugs expected to enter the market during that time”—and would cost the U.S. economy $1 trillion.


In The Detroit News, Academy of Medicine President Peter Rheinstein also warns lawmakers not to vote for H.R. 3 because it will inhibit innovation. Rheinstein estimates H.R. 3 would reduce pharmaceutical companies’ revenues by $1 trillion over 10 years. He concluded the bill “would bring medical research projects to a screeching halt—and doom millions of patients to premature deaths from otherwise curable diseases.”


Democrats are beginning to speak out against H.R. 3. In The Center Square, former Pennsylvania Congressman Ron Klink said H.R. 3 “would hurt patients and scientists” by resulting in $170 billion less for research and development. He expects H.R. 3 “would result in up to 60 percent fewer research and development projects” and that “government price-setting would slow drug development so much, average life expectancies could decline.”


As we have said several times: Americans want action. But they won’t tolerate those consequences.