New ways to increase patient access to needed medications
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With a new year comes a new administration and a new Congress and a new opportunity to educate and inform stakeholders on the value of biopharmaceuticals and the biopharmaceutical industry.

It’s often forgotten that our uniquely American industry provides not only treatments and cures to sick patients, but also millions of good-paying jobs to Americans in practically every state.

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We look forward to working with President-elect Trump, both parties in Congress, and other stakeholders to ensure that the millions of patients in need get access to our industry’s innovative medical breakthroughs.

Finding workable solutions isn’t just fantasy talk. Just recently, we saw the 21st Century CURES Act pass Congress on a bipartisan basis — an act designed to help spur needed innovation. The enactment of this important law showed—beyond all doubt—what can be accomplished when both political parties and all healthcare stakeholders sit down and work together toward common goals.

We’re so close to breakthroughs to so many diseases that plague us all. We can’t let bad policy stand between patients and cures. That is why, as hopeful as I am, I have been dismayed and disappointed when many in the media and on Capitol Hill promote the same tried and failed approaches that have been rightly rejected by both parties for decades.

Let’s look at the facts: price controls on innovative drugs simply don’t work. And they hamper innovation by discouraging investment and stand in the way of cures for patients. While proponents of government price controls have come up with clever names like “transparency” or “importation,” it’s the same song by another name. The end result is the same – they stifle innovation and delay progress by inserting the government into the free market.

There’s a very simple reason why most new drugs come from the U.S. and not Europe. That’s because our free market system encourages risk-taking to achieve innovation. The European model does not. Whether it’s a new cancer treatment, an innovative orphan drug, or a heavily prescribed antibiotic, innovation suffers when we impose government price controls.

One of the best ways to lower prices is to ease the regulatory burdens that hamper drug development.

We stand ready to work with all parties to find ways to lower costs by looking at the healthcare system holistically, and by recognizing that spending on drugs is often a preferred way of improving patient care and reducing other, more expensive healthcare treatments and procedures.

We can’t do it alone. Bio has consistently sought to bring policymakers from both parties and a full range of healthcare stakeholders to the table because we realize that is the only way lasting and true reform can be accomplished. The stakes are simply too high to resort to tired political attacks and failed policy proposals.

James C. Greenwood is the president & CEO, Biotechnology Innovation Organization.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.