What they are saying: Government price setting for medicines is not the answer

Sarah Sutton
Sarah Sutton November 4, 2021

What they are saying: Government price setting for medicines is not the answer.

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America’s biopharmaceutical companies continue to voice the dangers of current proposals in Washington that would allow the government to set prices for medicines. While it’s being called government “negotiation,” it really is government price setting, and it would have significant ramifications for research and development efforts that fuel innovation, sacrificing by a conservative estimate more than 60 treatments over the next three decades.

Instead, we need solutions that would lower patients’ out-of-pocket costs while protecting access to medicines and the discovery of future cures and treatments. Here are some thoughts from leaders in the biopharmaceutical industry:

“If it all sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. Under the guise of Medicare 'negotiations,' the US House of Representatives is considering a measure that would mandate the government to set prices on some of the most widely used drugs. These price controls would shrink the sector by 40 percent or $100 billion per year in revenue. Our entire industry invests about $100 billion per year in research and development.” – David A. Ricks, Chairman and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company, in The Boston Globe

“Americans want quality health care that is accessible and affordable. We share that conviction. In fact, it’s what we wake up every morning and go to bed every night thinking about. Some in Washington, D.C., are trying to force a false choice between affordable medicines and access to lifesaving, life-strengthening medical innovation. These efforts must be rejected. What has been lacking in this legislative effort is an honest, candid conversation with the American people regarding what they will be sacrificing if this change occurs.” - Mark Reisenauer, President of Astellas Pharma US and Lundbeck’s Executive Vice President and Head of North America Peter Anastasiou, in The Chicago Tribune

“While the American system is not perfect, today it rightly allows rapid access to new treatments and recognizes the value of medicines. There are better ways to address the system’s pitfall – patient affordability – with targeted reforms aimed at reducing cost sharing. The policies that Congress is considering put at risk development and timely access to new medicines, America’s role as a global scientific leader and the jobs that support it. In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to a constructive conversation about how we can balance improving patient affordability while continuing to support innovation and Americans’ ability to access the treatments they need.” - Giovanni Caforio, Chairman and CEO of Bristol Myers Squibb, on LinkedIn

“Patients are in urgent need of changes to our health care system that will ensure medicines are more available and affordable to them. Unfortunately, the current proposals on the table in Congress do not address the underlying problems with the U.S. system and will not improve patient affordability; instead, they will jeopardize the United States’ global leadership in medical innovation and negatively impact patient choice. If one of several key proposals being considered in Congress passes, the choice and access Medicare recipients depend on with their current prescription drug program will suffer.” - Jean-Michel Boers, President and CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim USA Corporation, in The News-Times

Learn how we can improve affordability without hindering access and innovation at PhRMA.org/BetterWay.

Topics: Medicare, Out-of-Pocket Costs, Proactive Agenda, Government Price Setting