February 1, 2024 (Washington, D.C.) Today the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) applauded Representatives Greg Murphy (R-NC), Don Davis (D-NC), and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) for their leadership in support of millions of Americans living with chronic disease and the introduction of the Ensuring Pathways to Innovative Cures (EPIC) Act (H.R. 7174).
Unintended consequences of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) arise from the discrepancy in price-setting timelines between small molecule drugs and biologics. Recently, twenty healthcare groups signed onto a letter voicing their support for responsive legislation, like the EPIC Act, to reverse this disincentive and implement the same 13 years post-FDA approval timeline for biologics and small molecule medicines alike under the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Program.
The bipartisan introduction of legislation to address the small molecule penalty is a critical step forward in protecting access to prescribed medicines for older adults and people with disabilities. Among U.S. adults aged 65 and older, 87.5 percent take at least one prescription medicine a month. Almost 40 percent of these adults take more than five. Small molecule drugs often come in simple to use forms, like pills, tables, and patches. These medicines allow greater independence and quality of life, two important benefits that extend beyond the patient and onto caregivers as well.
“Access to small molecule drugs is crucial for underserved populations, including those in rural areas, and supports health equity. The IRA's shortened timeline for small molecule drug pricing will not only result in serious consequences for Medicare beneficiaries in the present and future but will also exacerbate access barriers to new treatments and further health disparities,” said PFCD Chair Ken Thorpe. “We stand ready to support Reps. Murphy, Davis and Guthrie in raising awareness of this important healthcare issue, rallying their colleagues and advancing the EPIC Act into law.”