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Leaders Brady and Rodgers Demand Transparency from Secretary Becerra on Cure-Killing Price Control Scheme

Democrats' price controls lead to fewer cures, more expensive new drugs, and make America more reliant on China.
August 29, 2022 — 'Inflation Reduction Act'    — Correspondence    — Democrats' Drug Price Control Scheme    — Health    — Press Releases   

Washington, D.C. – In their massive tax and spending spree, Democrats and President Joe Biden just granted U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra sweeping and unprecedented authority to implement government price controls over prescription drugs.

These price controls will lead to fewer cures, more expensive drugs when they launch, and make America more reliant on China’s drug development and manufacturing supply chains. In addition, Secretary Becerra’s new authority to spend $3 billion to create a new government price control bureaucracy also comes while he is facing criticism and breaking public trust for his missing leadership in the Biden administration’s COVID-19 pandemic and monkeypox response.

Today, Ways and Means Committee Republican Leader Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) are urging Secretary Becerra to be completely transparent and forthright on how he plans to “execute [government price controls] and the impact those decisions will have on [seniors] access to innovative medicines.”

In a new letter, Brady and Rodgers tell Secretary Becerra:

  • The Biden Administration’s Price Controls Will Lead to Fewer Cures: “We know there will be less medical innovation and fewer medicines for Americans due to this law, no matter how it is implemented. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the University of Chicago, and many other independent analyses   have all confirmed this will lead to fewer cures amid the current reality of a recession and record-setting inflation.”
  • The Biden Administration’s Price Controls Will Lead to Higher Costs: “We likewise know that the inflation rebate penalties imposed by the law will result in higher launch prices and invite drug companies to manipulate their prices in other ways by tying price increases to the new statutory rate of inflation or spreading price increases across multiple drugs. That is not partisan hyperbole or speculation, but rather comes directly from CBO, which projected that the inflation-rebate and negotiation provisions would ‘increase the launch prices for drugs that are not yet on the market relative to what such prices would be otherwise.’”
  • The Biden Administration Must Be Transparent to Patients and Seniors: “If patients were to lose a voice in this process or if innovators and their real-world business perspective were to take a backseat to political calculations and bureaucratic hubris, countless Americans would lose access to even more potentially life-saving medicines or be forced to seek treatment from overseas. Therefore, we urge you to prioritize transparency and forthright communication throughout this process, especially since Democrats have prohibited any check on your power through the standard remedies of judicial review and administrative review, which are prohibited in this law.”

Brady and Rodgers ask Secretary Becerra a series of questions about the implementation of the law, including:

  • Have you, or the staff you plan to designate to lead this process, had any prior experience setting prices for pharmaceutical products?
  • Will HHS go through notice and comment rulemaking to set up this so-called negotiation process? If not, please explain.
  • How will HHS incorporate patient feedback in the negotiation process, including the drug selection process? Will HHS be convening a patient advocacy panel to ensure patient access to drugs? If not, why not?
  • How will HHS plan for and respond to drug shortages if the price setting process leads to less access to necessary drugs, as we have seen in other markets where governments set the prices for a large percent of the market?
  • How will HHS prioritize and incentivize domestic manufacturing while preventing drug development and manufacturing from being transferred to China?

CLICK HERE to read the full letter and questions to Secretary Becerra.