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Any Drug Pricing Compromise Must Lower Costs and Preserve Access to Innovative Therapies. Congress Can, and Should, Do Both.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 3, 2021) Today, the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) released the following statement on the drug pricing plan that Congress is considering.
“While we wait to see the details of this plan, Senate negotiators have apparently taken some important steps forward in agreeing to limit seniors’ out-of-pocket costs as part of a new proposal on prescription drug pricing. The proposal would reportedly limit seniors’ out-of-pocket expenses to $2,000 per year. This is good progress. 
“We think Congress could take further steps to eliminate out-of-pocket costs on a range of prescription drug therapies that are used for the treatment of chronic disease. Many value-based Medicare Advantage plans do so today with great success. If we remove out-of-pocket costs altogether on affordable front-line therapies, we will remove the principal cost barriers that keep many seniors from taking the medications they need as prescribed. 
“While we believe it’s important to cut prescription costs, the proposal to negotiate certain drug prices and redesign Medicare liability will significantly hamper the development of new innovative therapies.
“We have serious concerns about any proposals that would enable the federal government to arbitrarily set prices, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has also said that this will have a devastating impact on innovation. CBO estimates that under previous versions of price setting, “approximately 8 fewer drugs would be introduced to the U.S. market over the 2020-2029 period, and about 30 fewer drugs over the subsequent decade.” Other estimates show significantly larger reductions in the introduction of new drugs and assert that proposals like H.R. 3 would lead to a 29 to 60 percent reduction in research and development from 2021 to 2039 which translates into 167 to 342 fewer new drug approvals during that period.
“What Americans suffering from chronic diseases need now more than ever is access to the therapies their doctors prescribe, and patients who have spent a lifetime paying into Medicare should have access to these drugs without facing unaffordable out-of-pocket costs.
"Congress can, and must, work to address high prescription drug spending in a way that protects patient access to prescribed treatments, particularly those living with multiple chronic conditions. We urge Democratic leaders to focus on preserving incentives for new development by rethinking their negotiation scheme and redesign of Part D liabilities while preserving the coverage enhancements (like an out-of-pocket cap) that the agreement contains.
"PFCD looks forward to working with lawmakers as they develop solutions for lowering health care costs. Getting this right is essential for the more than 133 million Americans living with chronic diseases."
The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is an international coalition of patient, provider, community, business and labor groups, and health policy experts, committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability and rising health care costs: chronic disease.