The Alliance

The Weekly Dose | 06.28.19

June 28, 2019 3:46 pm

Like most Americans, we get a little misty-eyed celebrating the Fourth of July. Flaws and all, the United States still is a beacon to millions worldwide, and the grit and independence of the generations before us forms the foundation of our desire to innovate and create.


As we wrote in an op-ed published this week, the United States health-care system—flaws and all—leads the world in innovation. The United States is not only the home of the brave, it is home to thousands of scientists, doctors, and others in the biotechnology field who have devoted their careers to discovering and developing the next breakthrough treatment to treat cancer, or depression or sickle cell disease.


Happy Independence Day. Have fun and be safe, but, remember, if you need information for a story or have questions, just email us. We look forward to working with you.



Patrick O’Connor – Executive Director

Rosemarie Calabro Tully – Communications Director



At Inside Sources, our Executive Director Patrick O’Connor makes the case for innovation. O’Connor tells the story of one patient’s struggle with sickle cell disease and how: “Thanks to a system that encourages innovation and research into rare diseases, the biotechnology industry has a growing pipeline of new developmental treatments for sickle cell disease.” The op-ed also appeared in The Times of Northwest Indiana.

The Orlando Sentinel also published an op-ed by APMI Executive Director Patrick O’Connor ahead of this week’s Democratic presidential primary debates in Miami. In the piece, O’Connor offers additional context and prebuttals to some potential policy proposals on health care that may be raised during the discussions.

Our critique of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s assessment of the “value” of prescription medications also was mentioned in POLITICO’s “Prescription Pulse” this week.



Fuhr on how an #IPI #drugpricing model could harm US #patients: "By artificially suppressing prices, these price controls trigger a host of unintended consequences, including a sharp reduction in the incentives for drug manufacturers to invest in R&D.” Click here to RT.

How much of biopharmaceutical R&D is funded by the private sector, how much is funded by taxpayers or universities, and how does #drug company R&D compare to earnings? We break it down here: … #DrugPrices #Innovation Click here to RT.



How Much Should A Prescription Drug Cost When It Works? We offer real context and facts about where drug prices have been and are headed. Another important point that often gets lost in the debate about cost: “[M]edical research has become so profound and widespread that there is now an array of treatments for even the most lethal diseases in the world.” Read the full blog post here.  

In case you missed them, here are some other recent posts on the APMI blog:

-Maine passed legislation to allow drug importation. Learn more about the dangers in “The Risks of Importation.”

-As the measles outbreak continues to grow, funding for vaccines is vanishing, and current proposals in Washington could make things worse. Learn more in “The History and Future of Vaccines.”

-State governments continue efforts to rein in pharmacy benefit managers. What are these things anyway? We explain in “What Is a PBM?



ICER’s Drug Cost Evaluations Called “Unfit.” In a report released this week, the Pioneer Institute says the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s (ICER) approach to value assessment “is particularly ill-suited to assess the cost-effectiveness of orphan and rare disease treatments, which represent a rapidly growing sector of the biopharmaceutical marketplace.” Pioneer also says “ICER is unfit to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of rare disease treatments.”

Advocate For Individuals Struggling With Mental Health Issues Says International Pricing Index Is A Bad Idea. According to The Hill, President Donald Trump’s plan to implement an international pricing index has taken a key step forward. At the Tennessean, Jackie Cavnar, chief operating officer for Mental Health America of the MidSouth, argues this policy will harm individuals struggling with mental health issues. She says, “Medicare plans may use the artificially suppressed prices in other countries as pretext to deny patients potentially more effective treatments. Pricing indexes could also have an adverse effect on the development of new medications, with the marketplace not adequately rewarding innovative breakthroughs that could make a difference in the lives of individuals.” Over at the Knoxville News, National Center for Public Policy Research Senior Fellow Drew Johnson also discusses how the IPI would affect drug innovation.

 The Information Consumers Really Need, And Want. Advertisements that tell consumers the list prices of health care innovations are of “limited utility,” according to Axios. Instead, consumers want insurance companies to tell them what they are going to pay out of pocket. The New York Times, meanwhile, says efforts to make firms advertise prices could actually make prices to up.

 Maine Cracks Down On Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). As Axios reports, Maine Gov. Janet Mills this week signed a bill that bans PBMs "from retaining rebates paid by manufacturers and requires those rebates to be passed along to the consumer or the health plan.” In a podcast, meanwhile, Kaiser Health News explains PBMs’ impact on drug prices this way: “Your insurance company is probably in cahoots with a pharmacy benefit manager — and the negotiations that go on between them are trade secrets.”



The American Enterprise Institute’s Visiting Fellow Kirsten Axelsen on innovation in America:


“Because other countries pay less than the US for drugs, hospitalization and physician services, America subsidizes innovation and research investment for the rest of the world. If the US weren’t such a big and profitable market, consumers wouldn’t get the same access to therapeutic advancements.”