The Alliance

The Weekly Dose | 12.13.19

December 13, 2019 1:40 pm

“Prescription drug prices are out of control.” So begins House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s webpage devoted to H.R. 3, the drug-pricing bill that the House passed yesterday.


The problem is … that statement is incorrect.


According to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services featured in BioSpace, retail prices for prescription drug prices declined 1 percent in 2018. That is the first time that retail prices have fallen on an annual basis since 1973. But as we have reported, the growth rate for the amount that patients actually pay for their treatments has been inching up at a very moderate pace. In fact, once rebates and other discounts were accounted for, per-capita spending is actually down about 2.2 percent.


In our statement on the bill, we lamented that the proposal is misdiagnosing the cause of high health-care costs and implementing ill-informed provisions that will reduce the number of medical discoveries. (Full statement here.)


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





- "This legislation will do more to inhibit future #innovation than it will to tackle the real drivers of health-care costs for most Americans." NEW STATEMENT from APMI on H.R. 3: #drugpricing #drugprices #HR3 #biotech Click here to RT.


- Previous studies found that H.R. 3 would lead to a reduction of 8-15 new drugs over the next decade. Now the @WhiteHouseCEA reports that the loss could be closer to a 100 fewer #medicines. For #patients in search of a cure, either analysis is unacceptable. Click here to RT.


- In a meeting with @POTUS’ Domestic Policy Director @joegrogan4, Canadian Amb. @KirstenHillmanA made it clear: “Canada’s market for pharmaceuticals is too small to have any real impact on U.S. drug prices.” For more on #drugimportation, visit @thehill: Click here to RT.




Check out and share on Twitter our latest blog posts:


- The Arnolds’ Biggest Coup Yet. Despite lots of brouhaha over whether progressive leaders are in support, the U.S. House of Representatives voted this week on H.R. 3, the drug-pricing legislation introduced by Speaker Pelosi. Now that this bill passed through the House, there is a couple who is likely to celebrate even more than the speaker, because they’ve spent millions of dollars to see it pass—John and Laura Arnold. Click here to read the full blog post.


- H.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. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here


- ITIF Paper: Price Controls Reduce Innovation. The United States always has been the global innovator in the search for new cures. But if price controls are put into effect, we will quickly lose our lead. We look at a new Information Technology and Innovation Foundation paper, which explains why. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here




- An Update On Innovation In America. As former Food and Drug Administration Director Scott Gottlieb pointed out on The Wall Street Journal editorial page, total spending on research and development by the 15 biggest drugmakers rose past $100 billion in 2018, up 32 percent in the past five years. According to Mike Guerra from the California Life Sciences Association, 70 percent of all potential new treatments in the drug pipeline are being researched by small companies.


- Investment Dollars Will Look For Treatments For Neurologic And Hearing Loss Diseases “Where No Current Therapies Exist.” According to a press release: “Limelight Bio, a multi-disease biopharmaceutical company developing gene therapies, recently raised $75 million in financing funded by life sciences innovation fund Apple Tree Partners (ATP). The company was founded in 2017 and has focused on severe retinal, hematologic/metabolic, and neurologic and hearing-loss diseases where no current therapies exist.”


- New Hope For Patients With Breast Cancer? STAT News reports an experimental cancer drug from AstraZeneca “was tested in a clinical trial of 184 breast cancer patients whose tumors tested positive for a marker called HER2 and who had previously received cancer treatments including Roche’s Kadcyla. There was a response, meaning tumors shrank by at least 30 percent, in 112 patients, or 60.9 percent of those tested. Those responses lasted for a median of 14.8 months.”


- H.R. 3 Would Hurt Indiana’s Economy. At, Indiana Health Industry Forum CEO Kristin Jones writes: “Diminished biopharmaceutical investments and output would not only inhibit patient access to new innovative treatments, it would negatively impact our economy, particularly in a state like Indiana. Life sciences is a $79 billion industry here, ranking second in the U.S. in 2018 in life sciences exports, with 85 new products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Life sciences companies, including those that could be directly impacted by H.R. 3 and other likeminded proposals, support over 58,000 jobs here.” 


- H.R. 3 Would “Dissuade The Investments That Are Crucial To Sustaining The Bioscience Industry.” In the Connecticut Post, Paul Pescatello, executive director of the Connecticut Bioscience Growth Council explains: “Inventing and bringing new medications to market is an expensive and time-consuming process that very frequently ends in failure — most new drug innovations never make it to pharmacy shelves. Policies like those put forth by H.R. 3 will dissuade the investments that are crucial to sustaining the bioscience industry and providing patients with essential new pharmaceutical therapies.” 




In the Charleston, S.C. Post & Courier, Lou Kennedy, who runs a woman-owned pharmaceutical company that employs more than 2,000 individuals, including 650 teachers, wrote:


“As an employer who bears the brunt of bad legislation, it is extremely concerning for me to see our health-care problems become so overtly politicized by our leaders. … One recent proposal — Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Lower Drug Cost Now Act (H.R. 3) that is scheduled to be voted on this week — is the latest and the most radical piece of legislation to be birthed by the politics of health care. … H.R. 3 would embolden the U.S. government to dictate which diseases are worthy of future research and investment. Such an approach would certainly discourage investors who devote almost $100 billion in capital each year to research and development of new cures and treatments.”


At Forbes, investor Bruce Booth wrote:


“As a front-line practitioner in early stage biotech venture capital, I can assure you that radical across-the-board cuts in the future pricing of innovative therapies will certainly affect both the scale and pace of investments in new biomedical startups.”