On this episode of the podcast, Terry and Bob discuss the threats posed by H.R. 3, prescription drug price control legislation that was reintroduced in the House of Representatives in April. They point out how the Covid-19 vaccine demonstrates the importance of keeping drug development pathways open and how nothing kills medical innovation faster than price controls. Bob highlights three ways how H.R. 3 is flawed:
- It targets the newest drugs that have the most potential impact with price controls.
- It sets up a drug review board that would control who gets new therapies and when depending on the budget impact.
- It targets medications passed through the FDA’s accelerated approval pathway.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the law would result in 38 fewer drugs, but Bob argues the actual number will be far more than that.
Terry interviews Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who discusses her bill, the Protecting Innovation for the Next Generation Act, which offers an antidote to H.R. 3. Blackburn highlights the success of Medicare Part D in providing 45 million seniors and people with disabilities broad access to medications at controlled prices without undue government interference. She explains how H.R. would do away with Part D’s government noninterference clause, which would result in a restrictive formulary similar to the Veteran’s Administration.
Such price controls would kill pharmaceutical innovation needed to develop cures for Alzheimer’s, renal disease, cancer, and other diseases. Restrictive formularies drive up the total cost of care because they result in patients who aren’t as healthy as they otherwise could be.
Patient correspondent Kate Pecora interviews Kristine Hutchinson, who discusses her caregiving experience. Kristine’s wife, Candace, has Myasthenia Gravis (M.G.), a neuromuscular system disorder that can impede breathing. Kristine was recently featured in Colorado Politics explaining how potential state legislation to create a Colorado Prescription Drug Affordability Review Board threatens access to medications for patients like her wife. Kristine tells Kate of the challenges caregivers face, notably having to spend so much time inside in such a beautiful state as Colorado.