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Utah Life Sciences News & Events

House Energy and Commerce Committee Holds Hearing on Drug Price Controls

May 7, 2021

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee on Tuesday held a hearing on “Negotiating A Better Deal: Legislation to Lower the Cost of Prescription Drugs.” 

All committee members called for legislation to lower drug costs, but differed along party line on how best to achieve that.

House Democrats recently reintroduced H.R. 3, a sweeping drug pricing bill that would require drug manufacturers to negotiate prices with the government based on an international price index of prices paid in several other countries. BioUtah, along with our national partners, BIO and PhRMA and some patient groups, have expressed strong concerns about this approach. 

During the hearing, Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), a member of the committee, noted that studies show H.R. 3 could result in a loss of 20K jobs and $4 billion in economic output in Utah, especially harming small biotech and drug discovery companies.

Studies have also shown that this approach would impede innovation and investment in new drugs, and ultimately reduce the number of new medicines coming to market. In his first joint address to Congress, President Biden expressed his support for drug price controls.

House Republicans have introduced an alternative bill, H.R. 19, which rejects government price controls and includes a series of bipartisan fixes that focus on transparency, patent reforms and restructuring Medicare Part D – all aimed at reducing patients’ out-of-pocket costs.

House and Senate Democrats, including Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have called upon the White House to add government drug price controls to the President’s new spending initiatives (e.g American Families Plan) as they move through the legislative process.

Interesting Reads:

Study Analyzes Potential Impact of Various Drug Pricing Proposals 

Tiny biotechs fear “nuclear winter” from H.R. 3