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Brady Remarks in Opposition to the Fewer Cures for Patients Act

October 22, 2019

Washington, D.C. — During a full Committee debate of H.R. 3, Speaker Pelosi’s Fewer Cures for Patients Act, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, delivered the following remarks in opposition to the jobs- and cures-killing legislation.

Remarks as prepared for delivery: 

“’If there is a wrong way to do something, then someone will do it,’ said Edward A. Murphy of Murphy’s Law.

“Regrettably, that’s the case today.

“Democrats and Republicans support lowering drug prices, cracking down on overpriced drugs, giving patients more power to choose affordable medicines, and removing the wrong incentives in federal health programs that reward bad actors for raising prices.

“In fact, at Chairman Neal’s invitation, both parties in this Committee were working together toward that important goal. 

“At least until Speaker Nancy Pelosi trashed the bipartisan work and forced through a secretly written, deeply controversial, and highly partisan drug bill to cure political illnesses rather than real ones.

“It’s already dead on arrival in the Senate.  But make no mistake, this is a dangerous bill.

“At its heart is a dangerous trade-off for the American people: lower drug prices in the short-term but fewer lifesaving cures and treatments in the long term.

“This is a terrible trade-off that will destroy life-saving medical breakthroughs while harming patients and lowering the life expectancy of older Americans.

“Supporters told us at the recent hearing, ‘frankly, that’s a trade-off we are willing to make.’  Well, we Republicans are not – because it’s a cruel and false choice.

“The Congressional Budget Office concedes this bill will reduce cures in the future – that’s not up for debate anymore.  The only question is how many cures will be lost. 

“They estimate 15 diseases will be left behind, but others believe it may run well over one hundred lost cures.

“With the average new medicine costing $2.6 billion and 15 years to gain approval here in the U.S., it’s nothing short of denial to believe there will be no substantial loss of cures as a result of H.R. 3.

“Given the ravages of Alzheimers, Parkinson’s, cancer, diabetes, ALS, Glioblastoma, and so many other diseases today without hope, Republicans believe even one cure lost is one too many.

“Foreign countries that use this plan Democrats are supporting suffer from fewer new drugs created there, with patients who have less access to them.

“One study found that in the 80s, pharmaceutical R&D in the EU ‘exceeded U.S. R&D by about 24 percent, but by 2004, EU R&D trailed U.S. R&D by about 15 percent,’ resulting in fewer new drug and fewer jobs.

“If the U.S. had adopted the price control policies used abroad, the world would not have as many treatments; longevity in the U.S. and globally would decline.

“Those aren’t American values.  That’s not our culture of hope and innovation.

“Just as harmful, this bill discourages researchers from being the first to market a new life-saving cure.  Instead it rewards those who delay their breakthroughs – to be second or even third to a market.  That makes no sense. 

“Critics have long said drug companies spend too much time on these ‘me too drugs’; yet in H.R. 3, Democrats are rewarding that behavior.

“Why develop another heartburn pill when we could be leading the globe in finding a cure to ALS? 

“Why create another psoriasis medicine when we could be the ones who put an end to cancer? 

“Congress should support policies that reward the researchers taking the biggest risks to cure the toughest diseases our families face.

“Republicans will not accept the cruel Democrat ‘trade-off’ of fewer cures.  It’s not worth it to deny the hope of new medicines and cures from making their way to our loved ones.

“It’s not worth it to tell those suffering with life-threatening illnesses they have to keep waiting because we may never find a treatment.

“But that’s exactly what could happen if this bill ever becomes law.  Investments in innovation would go elsewhere and patients will continue to wait. 

“Our scientists and creators need the time and resources to focus on what matters most: discovering new, life-saving cures.  H.R. 3 denies them that priority.

“Does this mean that drug companies should get off scot-free in this process?  Absolutely not.

“But H.R. 3 doesn’t go after bad actors, it goes instead after cures.  This is dangerous.

“Mr. Chairman, it doesn’t have to be this way. We can have lower drug prices and spur more life-saving cures.

“We have bipartisan policies that we have worked on together that could be signed into law, and Republicans plan on introducing these provisions today. 

“There is no excuse for massive price hikes on existing drugs.  There is no excuse for price spikes during the year that leave patients and families in the lurch.

“And we all agree that we must get the incentives right within Medicare to punish bad actors sand reward lower prices.  And I believe it is possible to achieve this without jeopardizing innovation and new cures.

“Republicans are ready and eager to work with you on this priority and deliver a bipartisan bill the President can sign.

“Because one cure lost is one too many.  And frankly, Republicans don’t think “it is worth it” to end the hope of cures for the patients and seniors who need them most.

“Thank you.”