Biden's Budget and the SMART Prices Act Will Devastate Drug Development | Citizens Against Government Waste

Biden's Budget and the SMART Prices Act Will Devastate Drug Development

The WasteWatcher

Following closely behind the enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act, which included price controls on biopharmaceuticals that will dramatically and negatively impact research and development, President Biden’s fiscal year 2024 budget would substantially expand the coverage of drugs subject to price controls and cause even more damage to the creation of new life-saving treatments and cures. 

The budget proposal has been introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) as S. 1246, the SMART Prices Act (SPA), another misnamed bill that is purportedly intended to reduce the cost of pharmaceuticals.  Like every other attempt to impose price controls, it will not only raise prices, but also reduce investment and innovation.  And unlike other commodities or industries, these price controls will have life or death consequences and leave an invisible graveyard of patients.

The impact of the SPA was analyzed by Vital Transformation, which identified devastating consequences if the legislation was enacted into law.  There would be a loss of between 146,000-223,000 jobs in the biopharmaceutical industry and 730,000-1.1 million jobs throughout the U.S. economy.  According to the report, the price controls “could result in roughly 230 fewer FDA approvals of new medicines over a ten-year period, once the impacts are fully reflected in the pipeline.” 

As Citizens Against Government Waste pointed out in its longstanding criticism of biopharmaceutical price controls, their impact will fall disproportionately on rare diseases, as well as oncology and neurology.  But Vital Transformation’s most chilling finding is that if “the drug pricing provisions of the SPA been in place prior to the development of today’s top-selling medicines, we estimate that 82 of the 121 therapies we identified as selected for price setting would likely have not been developed.”

Members of Congress that support or intend to support S. 1246 or other proposals to increase price controls on biopharmaceuticals should read the Vital Transformation analysis and be ready to defend their decision to vote for a bill that will prevent the development of a cure or treatment for a disease that could save the life of their spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, children, or grandchildren.  If they continue to support price controls, they will be responsible for the devastation to pharmaceutical research and development that will result in higher costs, less accessibility, and fewer treatments and cures not only for their families, but also for every other American and their families.

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