“When Congress took the contentious vote in 2003 to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare, they knew they were investing in seniors’ health by ensuring access to lifesaving medicines. Today’s vote in the Senate reverses that progress by allowing the government to set prices for drugs in Medicare which will profoundly change this wildly successful program and threaten the future of new drug development.
“Even the most conservative analyses estimate that this policy would stop the development of 15 new therapies, vaccines, and cures over the next ten years while other studies find it’s dozens more. This is an unacceptable trade off especially for those patients who are living with unmet medical needs.
“This policy will negatively impact world-leading small and emerging biotech companies in Massachusetts especially hard. Because of the hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenue, established biopharma companies will have less resources to invest in drug development, guaranteeing they only invest in experimental treatments most likely to make it to market, and investing significantly less in our local biotech companies working on the most difficult and risky science. This new dynamic will ensure significantly less R&D into rare disease drugs including the hardest to treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes. Additionally, the economic impact will slow one of the state’s leading economic drivers. A recent study estimates 8,900 direct job losses and over $10 million dollars in reduced economic output from the biopharma industry annually.
“Today’s vote in the Senate shows that our leaders in D.C. take drug development successes for granted. This is a dangerous and short-sighted way of thinking. While we applaud the $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drugs this bill imposes, it is a shame that congressional leaders took this approach instead of passing aggressive reforms of the middlemen, including PBMs and health insurers, that are the true drivers of out-of-pocket costs for Medicare patients. As we look ahead, MassBio will continue to advocate for policies that support patients, advance the development of new cures, therapies, and vaccines, and ensure that patients can afford the medicines they need to stay healthy.”