Washington, DC—The Alliance to Protect Medical Innovation’s Executive Director Patrick O’Connor released the following statement on the passage of H.R. 3 in the U.S. House of Representatives:
“H.R. 3 is the culmination of John Arnold's multi-million dollar, behind-the-scenes effort to reshape health policy. This bill proves that a billionaire with no experience in health policy can enact bad legislation, if he or she is willing to spend enough money to influence the process. Unfortunately, this legislation will do more to inhibit future innovation than it will to tackle the real drivers of health-care costs for most Americans,” said Patrick O’Connor, executive director of the Alliance to Protect Medical Innovation, of H.R. 3.
Before the vote, the Alliance published a new blog post detailing all of the investments John and Laura Arnold made to shape the debate around drug pricing in Washington. The blog post incorporates reporting from Lev Facher, who notes that the Arnolds have provided funding to nearly every activist group that favors aggressive drug-pricing reform.
Specifically, Facher reports in STAT News that the Arnolds have:
- Met personally with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to influence his thinking on this issue;
- Spent millions of dollars to run television ads during the World Series;
- Financed at least $10 million in campaign ads to influence the outcome of the 2018 congressional midterm elections;
- Provided campaign contributions to influential lawmakers;
- Funded researchers and academics, including $10 million to Sloan-Kettering’s Drug-Pricing Lab and $4.2 million to the Institute for Medicines, Access, & Knowledge;
- Executed a “public opinion blitz featuring op-eds and Democratic pollsters”;
- Supported efforts to influence the state legislative process;
- Hosted a briefing for congressional aides with two Arnold Ventures staffers focused on value-based drug purchasing;
- Convinced a former federal lawmaker, who is paid by an Arnold-funded group, to advocate for H.R. 3;
- Used their power and influence to get “eight researchers and advocates funded by the Arnolds” to testify on Capitol Hill;
- Conducted monthly surveys of voter attitudes toward health issues, including drug pricing; and
- Provided $1.27 million for drug pricing coverage by Kaiser Health News, which, as Facher explains, “covers drug pricing aggressively.” (Facher notes “it is uncommon for a nonprofit outlet to accept funding to cover a specific topic from donors who are politically active in that space.” Kaiser has said it is no longer taking Arnold money.)
In all, STAT News believes the Arnolds have spent nearly $60 million to advance H.R. 3 and other reforms. At least $13 million went to Patients for Affordable Drugs and another $19.1 million went to the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review.
It’s a shame that millions of dollars were spent on a proposal that (1) delays or denies new medical treatments from coming to market, (2) fails to address real drivers of patients’ health-care costs, and (3) won’t become law in its current form (the president has said he will veto the bill). We invite the Arnolds to engage in a bipartisan dialogue with us toward addressing the root causes of higher costs for patients.
The Alliance to Protect Medical Innovation is a nonpartisan group committed to fostering a national conversation on medical innovation and patient access to care that is holistic and fact-based. The Alliance evaluates policy proposals and fact-checks claims affecting biomedical innovation, as well as responds to attacks on this innovation ecosystem. We are working to preserve the pipeline of breakthrough medicines that reduce costs within the health care system and help people live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. The Alliance receives funding from biopharmaceutical companies and other entities that represent the industry.