In recent days, we at CFIF have marked the ignominious one-year anniversary of the Biden Administration…
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Drug Price Controls: On 9/13, Let's End the Indefensible 9-13 Small Molecule/Large Molecule Protection Disparity

In recent days, we at CFIF have marked the ignominious one-year anniversary of the Biden Administration's misnamed "Inflation Reduction Act" (IRA) by noting its particularly negative impact on pharmaceutical innovation and, in turn, the nation's health and wellbeing.

As acknowledged by the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security  as well as groups like the American Cancer Society, Americans are already confronting alarming and unprecedented drug shortages in the wake of the IRA.

To mark today's date of September 13 - or 9/13 - it's appropriate to note a different but significant 9-13:  That refers to the indefensible distinction that the IRA makes between what are known as "small-molecule" and "large-molecule" drugs.

Specifically, the IRA imposes destructive price controls…[more]

September 13, 2023 • 03:24 PM

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Drug Prices Remain Moderated, but Democrats Nevertheless Push Destructive Price Controls Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, July 21 2022
[A]rtificial government price controls won’t do anything to moderate consumer price inflation that triggers Senator Manchin’s concern. What they will do, however, is gradually suffocate pharmaceutical investment and innovation here in the United States.

A year ago this week, Joe Biden went on record dismissing inflation – which had quadrupled from 1.4% to 5.4% during his first six months – as “temporary”:  

Some folks have raised worries that this could be a sign of persistent inflation.  But that’s not our view.  Our experts believe, and the data shows, that most of the price increases we’ve seen are – were expected and expected to be temporary…  Economists call all of these things “transitory effects.”  Now, I want to be clear:  My administration understands that if we were to ever experience unchecked inflation over the long term that would pose real challenges to our economy.  

Responding to a reporter’s question, Biden declined his opportunity to moderate or hedge his bets and instead doubled down.  “There’s nobody suggesting there’s unchecked inflation on the way, no serious economist,” he falsely insisted.  

Defying Biden, inflation subsequently continued its ascent to 6.8% in November and 7.0% in December, fully five times the rate when he entered office.  That’s when Biden once again went on record proclaiming that we had reached “the peak of the crisis,” and that “you’ll see it change sooner, quicker, more rapidly than people think.”  Oops.  

Instead, inflation reached 7.5% in January 2022 and then 7.9% by February.  Last month it reached 9.1%.  

Although Biden continues to label this all “Putin’s Price Hike,” the March-through-June period covering the Ukraine war accounts for only 1.2% of today’s 9.1% rate.  Accordingly, runaway inflation that Biden himself labeled a “crisis” back in December when inflation was 6.8%, and two months before Russia invaded Ukraine, is now somehow Vladimir Putin’s fault.  

Although rewinding the arrogant and bombastic Biden’s highlight reel of errors can make for enjoyable recreation, this isn’t a mere game of “gotcha.”  Rather, it’s important to highlight Biden’s nearly uninterrupted record of error as a cautionary reminder against believing anything he says while promoting his destructive policy agenda.  

Thankfully, Senator Joe Manchin (D – West Virginia) understood that truth when he informed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D – New York) last week that he couldn’t support what remains of Biden’s “Green New Deal” environmental agenda and proposed tax increases:  

They all knew exactly where I stood when we saw 9.1 percent.  That was an alarming figure to me, higher than anything in 40 plus years.  I said, “Oh my goodness, let’s wait now.  This is a whole new page.”  

Credit Manchin for recognizing inflation’s continuing peril and once again dashing the grand aspirations of the Biden Administration and Pelosi-Schumer Congress.  

Unfortunately, Manchin inexplicably remains open to an equally dangerous Chuck Schumer legislative idea:  socialized medicine via drug price controls.  

Here’s what makes Manchin’s openness particularly strange:  His inflation concerns don’t apply to prescription drugs, which remain steady even while consumer prices in other goods and services rage out of control.  According to the federal government’s official report last moth showing inflation at 9.1% overall, prescription drug costs rose last month just 0.1%.  Year-over-year, they’ve risen just 2.5%.  

Accordingly, artificial government price controls won’t do anything to moderate consumer price inflation that triggers Senator Manchin’s concern.  What they will do, however, is gradually suffocate pharmaceutical investment and innovation here in the United States.  

To wit, our more market-oriented approach currently results in far greater innovation and availability compared to the rest of the world’s advanced economies.  For example, the U.S. accounts for two-thirds of all new drugs introduced to the world, meaning that we create twice as many new drugs as the rest of the world combined.  That’s not by accident.  In terms of availability, consumers in advanced nations simply can’t access the innovative life-saving drugs available in the U.S.  Of 270 new medicines introduced here in the U.S. since 2011, Canadians could only access 52%, Germans 67%, British just 64%, the French 53%, Japanese merely 48% and Australians just 41%.  

A University of Chicago study quantified that negative impact of federal drug price controls on future lifesaving innovations:  

The United States has fewer restrictions on price than other countries, but the Biden Administration has announced their goal to lower drug prices through greater price regulation…  [N]ew drug approvals will fall by 32 to 65 approvals from 2021 to 2029 and 135 to 277 approvals from 2030 to 2039.  These significant drops in new drug approvals will lead to delays in needed drug therapies, resulting in worse health outcomes for patients.  

So while drug price controls will do nothing to relieve Senator Manchin’s broader inflation concerns, they will come at a cost in lives lost.  Paraphrasing Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars,” drug prices simply aren’t the inflationary droids that Manchin is looking for.  

Manchin must therefore reconsider this potentially catastrophic drug price control proposal before it’s too late.

Notable Quote   
"The 2024 presidential election is over a year away, but the left's legal assault on common-sense election integrity measures has already begun.Last month, a district court in San Antonio ruled that Texas cannot enforce the provision of Senate Bill 1 which established a voter identification requirement for mail in voting in Texas. The next day, a district court in Atlanta ruled against Georgia Senate…[more]
— Chad Ennis, Vice President of Honest Elections Project
Liberty Poll   

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