NPC in RealClearPolicy: Price Setting Bill Is No Panacea for Patients

In a commentary for RealClearPolicy, NPC’s John M. O’Brien explains how the drug pricing deal in the Build Back Better Act could create harmful unintended consequences for patient health and the future of innovation. 

The hastily assembled drug pricing deal in the Build Back Better (BBB) Act will lead to unintended consequences that distort pharmaceutical markets, reduce the development of new drugs, and threaten patients’ access to medicines, NPC President and CEO John M. O’Brien, PharmD, MPH, writes in a commentary for RealClearPolicy.

While the bill claims to allow Medicare to “negotiate” prices with manufacturers, Dr. O’Brien explains that, in reality, it caps prices for a growing and potentially cumulative number of drugs. In addition, there is no limit on the minimum price the government can set.

Simple solutions to complex problems are often wrong. The BBB Act is rife with unintended consequences that will hurt both patients and the world’s source of medical innovation. America’s patients deserve better.

John M. O' Brien, PharmD, MPH NPC President and CEO

Dr. O’Brien outlines the potential consequences of this price setting on branded drugs, including:

  • Creating additional uncertainty in the drug development process that would likely reduce investment in research, leading to fewer new drugs for the many diseases that lack effective treatments.
  • Disincentivizing generic drug companies from entering the market, leading to fewer generics and thus increased costs for both seniors and Medicare in the long run.

The bill also gives small-molecule drugs a shorter period of market exclusivity than biologic drugs. This would  reduce rewards for new or expanded indications that often help children and incentivize the development of biologic drugs, regardless of whether a biologic therapy is better for the patient, Dr. O’Brien notes.

Read the full commentary on the RealClearPolicy website.

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