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Wrap-Up: Dems’ ‘Fewer Cures’ Agenda Limits Access to Alzheimer’s Treatments

March 23, 2022

The Biden Administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently proposed new, unjustified restrictions that limit access to new treatments for up to six million American patients, and would go even further with its “Fewer Cures Agenda.” 


In a special meeting, Republicans on the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee were joined by experts who discussed this devastating decision, and how to promote innovation and bring more cures to Americans at lower costs.


CLICK HERE to watch the full meeting.


In opening remarks, Harry Johns, CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, said:


“This (CMS) draft would further devastate people already facing a truly devastating disease with their caregivers. It would deny all but a very few – if any – of treatments for the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s, and would create a barrier to advancement and innovation by introducing regulatory uncertainty.


Mr. Johns underscored the importance of access to new Alzheimer’s treatments for all Americans’ health care:


“It is not treatments that will bankrupt Medicare. It is Alzheimer’s that can bankrupt Medicare if we don’t get treatments to people to change the trajectory of the disease.”


“The costs are already immense at a human level, at an economic level – and that’s for individuals as well as the country – through Medicare and Medicaid.”


Duane Schulthess, CEO of Vital Transformation warned that CMS guidance will result in less research in cures for Alzheimer’s:


“Alzheimer’s is a very risky investment. So risky, in fact, that its clinical developments have declined by over fifty percent over the last decade. There is half as much Alzheimer’s R&D today than there was a decade ago. […] If the CMS guidance is implemented, the risk reward for investing in new treatments for Alzheimer’s is seriously impaired, and likely no longer viable.”


Tom Mathers, CEO of Allievex Corporation, added:


“If CMS continues to overstep, they will take away our ability to access capital and bring these new treatments to market. It’s going to reverberate throughout the innovation ecosystem in all of your districts.


Ways and Means Republicans warned that CMS regulations would disincentivize research and investment in cures.


Buchanan: Innovation in Life-Saving Cures Is Under Threat from CMS


Brady: We Can Lower Costs for Patients Without Sacrificing Cures


Key Quotes:


Rep. Ron Estes (R-KS):


“In Congress, we should be doing more to encourage innovation and foster an environment that leads to more cures. Unfortunately, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle continue to push their top-down government takeover of prescription drugs, a policy that we know is going to hinder the creation of life-saving treatments […] Instead we should be looking for bipartisan solutions that lower drug costs, lead to medical cures and treatments, and prevent the federal government from stopping the advancement of our medical community.”


Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV):


“For the past two Congresses, my colleagues across the aisle have continued to push their drug pricing schemes, which would not only socialize our drug pricing system, but would result in fewer cures for Americans. We need to come together to find better solutions. And we have the solution with H.R. 19 – the Lower Cost More Cures Act of 2021 – because we should not and cannot let innovation take a back seat in drug pricing discussions.


Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA):


“CMS action is misguided because of the impact that it’s going to have on people’s lives. It would disproportionately affect rural patients, lower income patients, minority patients who are less likely to access clinical trials.”


Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK):


“The recent CMS determination rolling back treatment for these new Alzheimer’s treatments is truly discouraging. Not only would this slow the pace of treatments and cures for Alzheimer’s, but for all drugs in its class. 


Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ): 


“In many ways what CMS is doing is the continuation of H.R. 3, which is ultimately a rationing model. […] The overarching theme in H.R. 3 is a model that limits access as a cash-savings mechanism.”


Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH):


“Unfortunately, time and time again the administration wants to stand in the way of patient access. […] This could have a chilling effect on the therapeutic space.”


Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO):


“The Biden Administration has subjected us to one crisis after another, and now they’ve restricted access to crucial medications to patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.”