Steube Pens Op-Ed in Sarasota Herald-Tribune: “Pelosi’s Drug Pricing Proposal Would put Floridians at Risk”
SARASOTA, FLA.—U.S. Representative Greg Steube (R-Fla.) penned an op-ed in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune condemning Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug pricing proposal, H.R. 3.
“My constituents remain concerned about what they pay for prescription drugs, and while my Republican colleagues in Congress have proposed legislation tackling this issue directly and effectively, some policies under consideration – like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s H.R. 3 – threaten to restrict patient access to medicines and cut off America’s pipeline of innovative research and development.” Steube writes.
H.R. 3 requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate prices for many drugs, stifling innovation, research, and development. Over 3.5 million Floridians are enrolled in a form of Medicare prescription drug coverage. H.R. 3 is modeled after socialist foreign healthcare systems, which would raise drug prices and restrict access to numerous prescription drugs that millions of Americans depend upon.
The full op-ed can be found here or below.
“My constituents remain concerned about what they pay for prescription drugs, and while my Republican colleagues in Congress have proposed legislation tackling this issue directly and effectively, some policies under consideration – like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s H.R. 3 – threaten to restrict patient access to medicines and cut off America’s pipeline of innovative research and development.
Last year I discussed the horrific problems with H.R. 3, and a year later they are more pressing than ever before. The budget reconciliation process happening right now seeks to institute price controls on prescription medication by linking a minimum of 25 widely used drugs to an international pricing index and institute rebate structures within Medicare part B and D.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of the U.S. biopharmaceutical industry and its ability to swiftly develop new medicines. As our country continues to navigate the challenges presented by the pandemic, we cannot afford to adopt policies that promote government encroachment, disincentivize future innovation, erode America’s sovereignty by utilizing international price standards and allow China to fill the research and development void that would be left behind.
H.R. 3 would do just that; if it were implemented, we would be woefully unprepared for future health crises.
H.R. 3 and the budget reconciliation process would allow the government to set prescription drug prices with little insight from biopharmaceutical manufacturers. This kind of blatant government overreach would prevent biopharmaceutical companies’ from recouping their investments. And this kind of government ‘negotiation’ on drug pricing would in practice lead to American patients losing out on access to lifesaving treatments.
Many of my constituents rely on prescription drugs every day to treat or manage chronic conditions. Many are living with illnesses that don’t yet have a cure. There are policies that are being discussed right now that would prevent new cures from being discovered or reduce access to existing drugs.
This is simply unacceptable.
While U.S. pharmaceutical companies were able to rise to the occasion and rapidly produce COVID-19 treatments due to critical government funding, the research and development of groundbreaking medicines is an arduous process that often results in failure.
On average it takes approximately $2.8 billion and more than a decade to develop a new medicine – and only a small fraction of the drugs that make it to the Food and Drug Administration’s Phase I testing are ever approved. H.R. 3 and the budget reconciliation process would whittle down the already small number of innovative medicines that make it into the hands of patients.
Policies like H.R. 3 that utilize government price-setting would make biopharmaceutical companies that are developing innovative therapies – to fight cancer, new COVID variants, Alzheimer’s and other diseases – less attractive investment opportunities for the investors who drive most research and development funding.
Without this funding, future biopharmaceutical innovations would become unaffordable and unreachable dreams, hurting the very patients my colleagues in Congress say they want to help.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, patients will have access to nearly 40 fewer drugs over the next 30 years if H.R. 3 is enacted. Vital Transformation estimates that under this legislation, small and emerging biotechnology companies would develop more than 60 fewer medicines over the next 10 years. We cannot undermine vulnerable patient groups and medical innovation by halting America’s revolutionary drug development pipeline.
Americans have access to 90% of all of the new medicines that have been launched since 2011. However, because of overreaching government price controls, patients in France, Switzerland and Canada have access to just 50%, 48% and 46% of new medicines, respectively. My constituents, many of whom are seniors, cannot afford to lose access to medicines that are critical for their health and well-being.
Instead of mandating price controls that will only stifle innovation, we should tackle the perverse incentives that make drug reimbursement so inefficient and deprive patients of rebates and other savings intended to lower their out-of-pocket costs. Most Americans oppose government price negotiations that would sacrifice research in future innovations or limit patients’ access to new medicines.
H.R. 3 and its inclusion in the budget reconciliation process is a step in the wrong direction. There are other, more appropriate legislative solutions we should pursue that prioritize innovation without jeopardizing our constituents’ access to lifesaving treatments.
The time to act is now: Floridians and Americans across the country deserve a solution that will not deny their access to lifesaving prescription medications.
U.S. Rep. Greg Steube represents Florida’s 17th Congressional District. He is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.”