State of the Union: Biden’s remarks on drug price controls and biomedical innovation

In his State of the Union speech last night, President Joe Biden hailed the end of the COVID-19 emergency while ignoring the contribution of biotechnology to the effort and praising drug price limits that would stifle future innovation.

“Thanks to the resilience of the American people and the ingenuity of medicine, we have broken COVID’s grip on us,” President Biden said early in the speech.

However, he failed to mention the impact of price controls on medical “ingenuity.” By enforcing drug price controls, drug manufacturers risk a decline in net earnings by over 70%, according to a recent study by Vital Transformation. This means the affected biotech companies will have insufficient finances to invest in research and development.

“Make no mistake, if you try to do anything to raise the cost of prescription drugs, I will veto it,” the President of the United States said last night, adding that drug price controls are implemented to cut the “federal deficit.”

“Big Pharma has been unfairly charging people hundreds of dollars—and making record profits,” he continued. Following the implementation of a $35 cap on insulin for seniors, he called for expanding the $35 cap to all patients.

Biden touts Cancer Moonshot, ARPA-H

Biden also spoke about the Cancer Moonshot, the federal initiative to halve the death rate from cancer. This should be as effective in preventing AIDS as PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), which has saved 25 million lives, according to the U.S. State Department.

“There’s one reason why we have been able to do all of these things: our democracy itself,” Biden noted, failing again to credit biotechnology.

Biden added that the launch of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) would enhance and advance medical research.

Fighting addiction, advancing clean energy

To fight the ongoing opioid epidemic, Biden urged enforcement to shut down the production of fentanyl, which is estimated to have killed more than 50,000 in 2021.

This week, “The State of Innovation in Pain and Addiction” by David Thomas and Chad Wessel, members of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s (BIO) Industry Analysis team, acknowledges that additional funding is necessary to address the public health issue. The report found a 44% decline in clinical programs for pain and addiction treatment therapies over the previous five years.

Regarding climate, Biden spoke about investments in clean energy, asserting that “the Inflation Reduction Act is also the most significant investment ever in climate change. Ever.”

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