The Alliance

The Weekly Dose | 11.01.19

November 1, 2019 2:12 pm

The Congressional Budget Office has said H.R. 3, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug bill, will reduce biopharmaceutical innovation in the United States. As STAT News reported this week, supporters of the legislation have made peace with the fact that, over the next decade, the number of new treatments hitting the market could be lower by at least 15 if President Donald Trump signs the legislation into law. 


In STAT News’ “D.C. Diagnosis” asked if that support would hold if the number was higher? What if it was 25, or 50, for example?


Why is STAT News asking that question? Because the CBO’s estimate is conservative. The STAT reporter said he has “spoken to health economists who argue that number is likely much higher, mainly because CBO’s analysis only tracks the bill’s potential impact on Medicare.” Northwestern University economist Craig Garthwaite told STAT, “I think the CBO estimate is clearly an underestimate on the effect on innovation.” The California Life Sciences Association agrees, having joined more than 40 other organizations in a letter to U.S. House and Senate leaders discussing the threat to innovation.


We believe that even one lost innovation is too many, and we’d love to discuss the CBO’s report with you. If you need more info for a story, or have questions, please email us. We look forward to working with you.



Patrick O’Connor – Executive Director

Rosemarie Calabro Tully – Communications Director





 - The House bill allows the government to either "negotiate" #drugprices or impose a 95% tax on those who refute the price. Not much of a surprise that H.R. 3 could be in violation of two amendments and Congress’ taxing power. Read more from @statnews: Click here to RT.  


 - .@WHO estimates that the counterfeit drug trade yields nearly $30B in profits yearly. Former @FBI director Freeh applauds states for tackling high #healthcare costs, but insists that “risky drug #importation schemes” are not the answer. Via @denverpost: Click here to RT.


 - Drug #importation is not just risky; it’s unrealistic. The yearly value of #pharmaceutical drugs sold in Canada is $33 billion, a mere “drop in the bucket” compared to the U.S.’ nearly half-a-trillion. Read more via @rcmarkets: #pricecontrols #healthcare Click here to RT.




Check out and share on Twitter our latest blog posts:


 - Can the U.S. police drugs from other countries? Two reports released over the last week have increased our anxiety. Even when the FDA is looking over the shoulder of manufacturers abroad, medicines are not as safe. The disparity occurs in part because the FDA does not conduct inspections abroad the same way it does in the United States. Click here to read the full blog post.


 - A Conversation About QALY. A recent Bipartisan Policy Center event on drug pricing highlighted just how little patients voices are taken into account by organizations like the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, which advocates for QALY assessments. We took a look at QALY assessment in a recent blog post. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.


 - R. 3 And Innovation. Kellogg School’s Craig Garthwaite points out that while price controls on drugs seem appealing, the “trade-offs don’t show up in the budget.” Like most Americans, we too don’t think that stifling innovation and limiting supply are worth it. Read why in a recent blog post. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.




 - New Study: “The Biopharmaceutical Industry Is Deeply Invested In Developing Immunotherapies And Other Cancer Treatments …” According to the Personalized Medicine Coalition, “A quantitative analysis conducted by L.E.K. Consulting … shows that the biopharmaceutical industry is deeply invested in developing immunotherapies and other cancer treatments that are designed to influence the activity of specific molecules involved in the growth of cancerous cells.”


 - Providing Much-Needed Transparency On PBM Practices. POLITICO’s “Prescription Pulse” reports the U.S. House of Representatives has unanimously passed two pieces of legislation that would require more public disclosure of the discounts drug companies give to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).


 - Why Do Drug Shortages Occur? The Food and Drug Administration reported to Congress that the rate of drug shortages increased between 2013 and 2017. How does this happen? The Wall Street Journalexplains: “The shortages often occur among drugs that are older and relatively inexpensive, according to an FDA analysis of 163 drugs that went into short supply from 2013 to 2017. It said financial incentives might be needed to encourage drugmakers to manufacture older, generic drugs.” Modern Healthcare has more Read the FDA’s full report here.


 - Is Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Drug Pricing Legislation Unconstitutional? According to the Congressional Research Service, the nonpartisan research arm of the legislative branch, it might be. The Fiscal Times reports, “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to lower drug prices might violate three parts of the Constitution. … The report does not say that the bill — which would let the government negotiate prices with drug manufacturers and impose steep fines on companies that don’t comply — is unconstitutional, only that it could face challenges based on the Fifth and Eighth Amendments as well as the congressional power of taxation.”


 - New Hope For Patients With Lung And Colorectal Cancer? Reuters reports, “An experimental drug from Mirati Therapeutics Inc. that targets a specific genetic mutation significantly reduced tumor size in 40 percent of patients with advanced lung and colorectal cancer so far evaluated in a small, early-stage trial.”


 - New Hope For Patients With Multiple Sclerosis. STAT News Plus reports: “new multiple sclerosis drug developed by Biogen and Alkermes was approved. … The Food and Drug Administration approved the oral drug Vumerity to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, a serious chronic disease that affects the central nervous system. The disorder stems from overactive immune cells that cause inflammation, and can result in debilitating symptoms, including difficulty walking and seeing.”




At Forbes, Republican Main Street Partnership President and CEO Sarah Chamberlain explains why price controls are a bad idea, and outlines what Congress should do instead:


“Congress would do far better to address healthcare costs comprehensively rather than piecemeal. Annual healthcare costs in the US tops $3 trillion. Improving health, early detection, and early treatment saves money. Early treatment of diabetes, for example, increases annual spending for insulin and medications, but also saves an estimated $6,400 in hospital costs per patient per year.”


Former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-Colo.) discusses drug innovation and President Donald Trump’s proposed International Pricing Index regulation in the Rutland Herald:


“Cancer deaths have fallen 27 percent over the last three decades, mostly because of better drugs. Five-year survival rates for chronic myeloid leukemia have risen by almost 60 percent since 2001, when the first drug to treat the cancer was approved. … Imposing price controls on Medicare might generate short-term savings — but it’d cut off the research funding that yields new cures. President Trump would be wise to shelve this proposal and concentrate on slashing Americans’ out-of-pocket drug costs.”


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