‘Backdoor’ drug price controls will limit access to medicines, says expert

The Bayh-Dole Act was meant to encourage innovative research. However, some lawmakers are trying to change the intent of the law using the “march-in provision” to get “backdoor” drug price controls, said Danny Seiden, CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, said on Vital Transformation’s podcast. 

Ultimately, this will make it harder for patients to get drugs.

What is the Bayh-Dole Act?

The 1980 legislation was intended to give universities, small enterprises, and nonprofit organizations the authority to own and license ideas created during federally sponsored research as well as to stimulate private sector investment to translate fundamental science into tried-and-true products, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) has explained.

However, some lawmakers want to use it to control medicine prices: almost 100 members of the House and Senate sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra pushing him to utilize it to control drug pricing, POLITICO reported.

‘Backdoor’ drug price controls

“It’s a backdoor way of getting what they failed to do through Build Back Better,” says Seiden in the podcast episode. It’s “a frontal assault on innovation and R&D, and all the great things we get out of pharmaceuticals.”

He cites Europe as an example, where disincentivizing medical development and investment through price regulations has resulted in fewer drugs reaching the market.

“You have people in Europe coming here to get treatments,” he added.

Price controls will lead to less access for patients

In his April op-ed for RealClearPolicy, Seiden cites a study by two University of Chicago economists which concludes that a government pricing structure similar to the one suggested by Congress will result in a 60 percent decline in R&D by 2039.

“We conservatively find the loss in life from the price controls the next 10 years is 20 times larger than the loss from COVID-19 to date in the U.S.,” the authors of the study wrote.

“AZBio and the Arizona Chamber work together to support health innovation and the importance of patients having the ability to access health innovations when they need it. Danny Seiden reminds us how important it is to look at the facts. That is what lays the foundation for sound policy. Otherwise, the intended benefit can be overshadowed by the unintended consequences,” Joan Koerber-Walker, President and CEO of AZBio, told Bio.News.

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