The threat of drug price controls returns

Democrats have “retooled” last year’s drug pricing proposal, which, similar to the previous proposal, would allow the government to set prices of certain drugs while being able to fine companies “that raise prescription prices faster than inflation,” The Washington Post reported.

However, the health care sector has not been hit as hard by inflation, Bio.News recently reported.

As of April 2022, “overall prices grew by 8.3% from the previous year, while prices for medical care increased by only 3.2%. This is unusual, as health prices historically outpace prices in the rest of the economy,” said the briefing from the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker.

Last year, the House of Representatives passed a measure giving Medicare the power to set prices on certain drugs. However, according to experts, price controls throttle innovation and eliminate incentives for conducting risky, expensive R&D.

“The policy will create billions of dollars in market distortions and unintended consequences,” said BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath.

How can we reduce patients’ costs?

The legislation that would make the most difference to patients’ out-of-pocket costs is the Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency Act, which is making its way through the Senate and targets drug middlemen who can drive markups in drug prices, as reported in Good Day Bio.

BIO supports legislation to reduce patients’ out-of-pocket costs—but price controls would “disrupt our innovation ecosystem and crowd out the next generation of new therapies that could transform the standard of care for patients and help bring down our nation’s long-term health care costs,” BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath has said.

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