The Alliance

The Weekly Dose | 09.20.19

September 20, 2019 9:44 am

Do Americans want Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s new prescription-drug plan, which includes price negotiation?


As CNBC reported in March, Americans are skeptical of government-mandated drug pricing policies if they know they will harm innovation. Specifically, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll found support for price negotiation fell from 86 percent to just 31 percent if government price negotiations could “hurt research and development.” Support for price negotiation declined to 29 percent if it would result in diminished patient access or Medicare denying coverage for some drugs.


And how would the Speaker’s plan impact innovation? In the New York Post, former New York Lieutenant Gov. Betsy McCaughey said it would “bring medical innovation to a halt,” causing cancer patients to suffer most due to the reduction in new treatments coming onto the market.


Want a deeper dive into public opinion polling on this issue, or have questions? Email us. We look forward to working with you.



Patrick O’Connor – Executive Director

Rosemarie Calabro Tully – Communications Director




- As the largest supplier of active #pharmaceutical ingredients, #China could manipulate our #drugprices as leverage. Given the stakes, it’s no wonder @RepAnnaEshoo and @RepAdamSchiff deem China’s tight grip on drug-making a national security issue. Click here to RT.

- Despite what @JohnArnoldFndtn may argue, public-sector financing alone isn’t discovering #drugs. In 2016 alone, private firms invested $90 billion in R&D, 3x more than the budget of the @NIH. Click here to RT.  

- “The next generation of miracle #cures is on its way,” says Sandip Shah, so long as politicians “don’t squash pharmaceutical #innovation w/ short-sighted policies" like #IPI or #pricecontrols Read how gov intervention could do more harm than good, here: Click here to RT.



Check out and share on Twitter our latest blog posts:

- Four Reports, Same Conclusion: Americans Aren’t Paying More For Drugs. More evidence surfaced last week showing prices for life-saving medications are declining. Based on data from Sector & Sovereign Research, STAT News reported that wholesale and net drug prices trended downward in the second quarter of 2019. The report reflects the findings of others that also indicate drug prices are not rising. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.

- Why John Arnold Is Wrong About Drug-Pricing Reform. In a recent column at Health Affairs, billionaire activist and former Enron executive John Arnold argued it is “time for Congress to go all in on drug-pricing reform.” We discuss how his prescriptions will harm U.S. patients by reducing drug innovation. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.

- What Is A PBM? Since “pharmacy benefit manager” is not yet a household phrase, we thought a short overview of what role these companies play in the pharmaceutical supply chain might be helpful. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.

- Why Americans Are Anxious. Why are Americans so anxious about #healthcare spending? Hint: it’s not rising #drug costs that are “fueling anger and resentment and adding to the country’s unsettled politics.” Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.



- Pelosi Plan: “An Unprecedented Exercise Of Raw Government Power” That Will Hurt Patients. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) drug pricing bill will allow the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary to negotiate prices for 250 drugs and require manufacturers to offer that price to private payers, as well as to public programs. Galen Institute Visiting Fellow Doug Badger calls the proposal “an unprecedented exercise of raw government power” and says the “aggressive government price-setting” will damage innovation and limit access to new treatments.

- Citizens Against Government Waste: Speaker’s Bill Will Cause Innovation To “Dry Up.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released her drug pricing plan this week. Citizens Against Government Waste said, “From excise taxes, to inflationary rebates, to coercive government intervention, H.R. 3 is a blueprint for destroying American biopharmaceutical innovation within a few years. Investment in this remarkable life-saving industry will dry up and move to other promising industries, like telecommunications or robotics, should H.R. 3 become law.”

- Washington Policy Will Affect Innovation. A new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation concludes, “[T]here is a strong causal link between current drug prices and revenues on one hand and future drug research and treatments on the other. Policymakers should keep in mind this trade-off between short-term affordability and long-term innovation: Reducing drug revenues today will lead to a decline in future R&D and a decrease in the number of new drug discoveries.”

- Hope For Patients With Lung Cancer. STAT News reports “the experimental lung cancer drug that led Eli Lilly to spend $8 billion on a smaller biotechnology firm, Loxo Oncology, delivered impressive results … A total of 68 percent of 105 patients — all of whom had been previously failed by chemotherapy — saw a response after taking selpercatinib … meaning that their tumors decreased in size by at least 30 percent. Those responses lasted for a median of 20.3 months, and the patients had progression-free survival of 18.3 months.”

- Hope For Patients With Heart Disease. Reuters reports, “AstraZeneca’s diabetes drug, Farxiga, has been granted fast track designation by U.S. regulators for the treatment of heart failure. … The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted the status for development of the drug to reduce the risk of deadly heart attacks and disease progression in adults with the HFrEF and HFpEF subtypes of heart failure.”

- Sickle Cell Patients Face Discrimination, But Help May Be On Way With New Treatments. As Axios notes, “almost 9 out of 10 hospitalizations for sickle cell disease are for black patients, and most of those patients are younger than 35, new federal data shows. ” These patients often face racial discrimination, Axios also reports, “but Global Blood Therapeutics hopes to roll out a pill next year, pending federal approval, and Bluebird Bio is aiming to get approval for a sickle cell gene therapy by 2022.”

- New Report Shows How Hospitals Are Driving Up Health Care Costs. A recent study conducted by the Partnership for Health Analytic Research found that hospitals kept 91 percent of the total profit on physician-administered medicines in the commercial market that went to providers in 2016. In a new blog post, PhRMA explains the study “further demonstrates just how much hospitals are driving health-care spending in the United States.”

- Importing Drugs From Canada Is Unsafe. At TownHall, the American Consumer Institute’s Oliver McPherson-Smith explains why importing drugs from Canada is impractical – and unsafe: “With a population smaller than that of California, Canada is simply too small to provide enough drugs for both domestic and American consumption. An overwhelming majority of pharmacists surveyed by the Canadian Pharmacists Association say that drug shortages have already increased over the past three to five years. After running Canadian shelves dry, where are all of these drugs going to come from? Canada already struggles to limit the spread of counterfeit drugs, which either lack the necessary active ingredient or are laced with toxic additives. In 2017, four former commissioners of the FDA penned an open letter to Congress in opposition to importing drugs from Canada due the risk that these counterfeits pose to American patients.”



Dr. David Fajgenbaum, in an interview with STAT News, explains how it is possible to utilize old drugs in new ways:

“There are over 1,500 drugs that are already FDA-approved. And many of them have activity against many different cell types, signaling pathways, proteins, and genes that are important in a number of diseases. … I think that we as a medical community need to really think about, OK, let’s work really critically and think really hard about the drugs that we already have that might be solutions. What can we try tomorrow as opposed to 10 to 15 years from now?”


Longevity Health Foundation Chairman Denison Smith on the International Pricing Index:

“Price controls inevitably lead to rationing, shortages, black markets, and many other symptoms of the disorder created by trying to force economic irrationality on a market. The end result is anguish. The recent resurgence of this idea is worrying, and should be quickly extinguished. Price controls don't work. It's only because we haven't tried them in a few decades, owing to their disastrous consequences, that we seem to have forgotten that.”



Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, 10:30 a.m.: U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Location: 2322 Rayburn House Office Building

Topic: “Making Prescription Drugs More Affordable: Legislation To Negotiate A Better Deal For Americans”


- R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019

- R. 275, the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2019

- R. 448, the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act

- R. 1046, the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act of 2019

Contact: (202) 225-2927