Letter to the Editor: Prescription drug bill ‘would impede innovation’

In a recent Delaware State News column, the AARP’s Lucretia Young (Nov. 7) said, “Prescription drug prices somehow defy gravity.” I’d like to address that statement, which also appeared in a nearly identical op-ed written by another AARP spokesperson in another state, and discuss the consequences of the bill that Young supports, H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019.

According to Altarum’s Paul Hughes-Cromwick, “We have seen incredibly low growth in prescription drug prices since July 2018, and the 12-month moving average now stands at -0.5 percent — a 47-year low.” Meanwhile, out-of-pocket health insurance costs are rising. The average cost of employer-provided family health insurance rose 5 percent this year to a record $20,576. Family premiums have risen 54 percent over the last decade.

The legislation that Young supports, H.R. 3, would have a devastating impact on Delaware residents’ ability to access cures today, and in the future.

American Enterprise Institute economist Ben Ippolito has testified that the pricing mechanisms written into H.R. 3 would impede innovation. He said, “By importing the pricing decisions of other countries, we are importing preferences over what is/isn’t worth paying” for.

The Congressional Budget Office has acknowledged H.R. 3 will reduce the number of new treatments that come to market, and former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin has said the legislation will make biotech a less attractive place for investors to put their money.

What that means is the country’s efforts to find a cure for cancer, Alzheimer’s and hundreds of rare diseases will slow.

That’s a price Delaware patients should not have to pay.

Patrick O’Connor
Executive Director
Alliance to Protect Medical Innovation
Washington, D.C.

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