U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley issued the following statement this week after the White House issued Executive Orders on drug pricing:
“While we will review the executive orders carefully, government regulation of contracts, reimportation, and importing foreign price controls are reckless and dangerous policies and the wrong way to try to reduce drug costs. These actions would risk myriad collateral consequences, including higher premiums, diminished drug safety, and a substantial reduction in investment in new cures. We urge the administration to reconsider this approach. A much better approach is to focus on ensuring that other countries bear their fair share of the burden of the significant costs of drug research and development.”
Meanwhile, the very free market oriented Forbes Magazine has largely dismissed the actions as more talk than action:
“Putting the President’s hyperbole aside, there are caveats and limitations attached to all four executive orders. And, the orders contain little if any substantively new policy changes. In fact, most of the policy changes contained in the orders were included in the Department of Health and Human Services Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs, released in May 2018.
“There are provisos that may prevent the orders’ implementation, especially regarding the two executive orders with the greatest potential impact on pricing and patient out-of-pocket costs: International reference pricing for drugs administered by physicians and reimbursed under Medicare Part B, and the rebate pass-through to Medicare Part D beneficiaries.”
Those that have been largely silent on it are progressives and those that have discussed it have been largely positive. The big concern for those who are free market advocates is that these provisions will undermine innovation or lead to shortages. The best case scenario would be that these provisions are impotent.
In addition to shifting responsibility for revenue to countries worldwide, patent protection needs to be changed to prevent these high prices from being protected into perpetuity through slight changes in drug formulas.