The Alliance

The Weekly Dose | 10.04.19

October 4, 2019 12:43 pm

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly is planning to push her drug-pricing legislation through several committees once Congress returns from its current recess. Under an aggressive timeline, that means the lower chamber could consider the bill late this month or early next.


As we have argued many times, this bill takes focus away from Americans’ real concerns. According to a Public Opinion Strategies survey released this week, 38 percent of Americans cite the cost of health insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays as their greatest health-care concern. Only 14 percent cite drug prices.


You will see additional commentary on H.R. 3 below, but Dr. Kent Kaiser has written one of the best pieces we’ve seen. Dr. Kaiser argues: “Pelosi’s prescription-drug plan would harm vulnerable American citizens and vulnerable American industries. At the same time, it would benefit unreliable foreign companies and unfriendly foreign countries. It must be stopped.”


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Patrick O’Connor – Executive Director

Rosemarie Calabro Tully – Communications Director





- Important perspective on the drawbacks of #pricecontrols from @CLSA_CEO of @CALifeSciences in @MorningConsult: “Foreign Price Controls Will Stifle Medical #Innovation and Hinder #Patient Access.” #drugpricing Click here to RT.  


- Not only has #drugspending grown at a slower rate than #hospitals & physicians, it contributes to just 10% of our nat'l #healthcare spending. Shout out to @ArkBusiness for shining a light on all the players in the healthcare debate: Click here to RT.


- The UK has a limited supply of Prozac, blood pressure pills, painkillers, and epilepsy treatments, warning doctors to minimize prescribing them. #Pricecontrols & gov’t drug negotiation will ultimately harm U.S. #patients like patients in other countries. Click here to RT.




Check out and share on Twitter our latest blog posts:


- Insurers, Hospitals, And The Price Of Drugs. Why are hospitals fighting against mandatory price disclosure? They say it’s a risky and onerous endeavor, but when 83 percent of hospitals inflate drug prices by 200 percent and nearly one-fifth inflate by more than 700 percent, we think it may be worth a try. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.


- Addressing Common Myths About Private Sector R&D. Drug innovation is like running a marathon: With taxpayer money in hand, the National Institutes of Health runs the first (very important) mile, but “you still have 25.2 miles to go, and each mile gets more difficult.” Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.


- Four Reports, Same Conclusion: Americans Aren’t Paying More For Drugs. In a blog post last month, we tried to separate drug myths from drug facts. We explain, for example, that most Americans are not drowning in drug costs. In fact, according to IQVIA, only 8.8 percent of Americans pay more than $500 a year for their medication. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.




- Hope For Women With Ovarian Cancer. Reuters reported “AstraZeneca Plc and Merck & Co Inc said … their treatment for newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer improved progression-free survival in patients tested in a late-stage study. The study tested Lynparza in patients as an add-on to an already existing standard of care, bevacizumab, and was compared to a group of patients given bevacizumab alone. The treatment showed a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in progression-free survival in women with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer, the companies said.”


- Senate, House Price Controls Both Would Lead To Drug Shortages. According to National Center for Public Policy Research Senior Fellow Drew Johnson, “[T]here’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Democrats’ troubling drug-pricing scheme and the Republican alternative. … Price controls on medicines have had devastating consequences … Of 220 new drugs launched from 2011 to 2017, 90 percent were available in the United States. Just two-thirds were available to patients in the UK, only half were offered in Canada and France, and a paltry one-third were available in Australia. Even when drugs are made available for sale in these countries, shortages are common. In France, a quarter of patients have been unable to get their prescriptions because of drug shortages. Last year, Canada’s government reported 4,400 drug shortages. Critical drugs for treating cancer, seizures and diabetes were nowhere to be found.”


- More From Drew Johnson: Reform Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) Practices Or Impose Price Caps? Writing in the Waco Tribune-Herald, National Center for Public Policy Research’s Johnson has the answer. While forcing insurers and PBMs to use their discounts and rebates to lower patients’ out-of-pocket costs, price controls would cause funding for funding for research into new treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other serious conditions to “evaporate.”


- More Criticism Of Pelosi Plan. At Bloomberg, Michael Strain, director of economic policy studies and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, writes, “Instead of pushing down prices by forcing drug companies to compete more vigorously, it would put them in the hands of government bureaucrats in a way that’s likely to restrict innovation and reduce access to many important medications.” John LaMattina has more at Forbes.


- UConn Professor: Drug Importation From Canada Is Risky. In the Chicago Tribune and The National Interest, C. Michael White, Professor and Head of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Connecticut, warns against importing drugs from Canada. They are several problems with this policy, he says, including that it “would eliminate the pharmacist-patient relationship. This could possibly increase the risk of medication errors, such as overdoses and the taking of duplicate medications. This is because consumers likely would get prescriptions from myriad pharmacies. Different drug importation programs would likely focus on certain classes of medications contracted to specific pharmacy chains or mail order facilities. Patients might stop going consistently to the same pharmacy.”


- Did You Know That Many European Companies Conduct Their R&D In The United States? S. News & World Report explains how the United States has remained dominant in medical research and development: “From vaccines to medical devices that provide a better quality of life, the United States has long been a global leader in medical research. … The way for the U.S. to remain on top: push for more innovation while paying closer attention to Asia, say experts. The U.S. is ‘the best country in the world in science’ and reached the peak position in medical research as other regions, such as Europe, ‘shot themselves in the foot’ and moved their research and development (R&D) capabilities to America, said Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, at the Atlantic Festival held this week in Washington, D.C. It’s surprising how many European companies do their R&D in the United States; we didn't make that mistake (of relocating R&D).”


- Indiana Newspaper Says Lawmakers Should Reject House Drug-Pricing Bill. An editorial in the Hamilton County, Ind. Times warns House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) drug-pricing legislation “resurrects policies that have failed in the past, limits therapeutic options for patients, and virtually guarantees the destruction of private drug therapy research and development.” The editorial advises the bill “should be outright rejected while lawmakers focus on solutions that promote American led life-saving innovations that can be shared worldwide.”




Washington Examiner contributor Charles Sauer on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) drug-pricing proposal:

“My family is one of thousands, if not millions, that has benefited from some of the recent advancements in pharmaceuticals. … And almost everyone has benefited from one of the commercialized drugs for which we can thank the free market. What if those drugs had never been taken to market? What if money wasn’t spent in research and development? What if instead of developing new drugs, drug companies just sat back and waited for other countries to innovate? Under Pelosi’s plan, a handful of already developed drugs might become cheaper, but the cost to future developments and breakthroughs would be devastating.”




- October 22, 2019, 9 a.m.: Bipartisan Policy Center

- Location: 1225 Eye Street, NW Suite 1000 Washington, D.C. 20005

- Topic: “U.S. Drug Policy: Tools to Increase Access and Affordability”

- Agenda: Explore the implications of using pharmaceutical reference pricing – both internal and external – in the United States.

- Contact: (202) 240-2400

- Website: