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Public Policy Newsletter Article

Biocom Condemns House Vote on H.R.3

  • 2019-12-18T04:21:00.000+0000
  • Washington DC
  • Author: Laure Fabrega

On December 12, the House of Representatives passed H.R.3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act by a 230-192 vote, with no Democrats opposing the bill. Click here to view the roll call. The bill imposes international reference pricing (a.k.a price controls) on drugs marketed here in the U.S. and severe penalties on drug manufacturers who don’t comply. Biocom has opposed the bill in the strongest terms.

“It’s a sad day for patients that the House today passed legislation that threatens America’s life science industry. […] While we believe that no patients should be unable to afford the medications they need and have strongly advocated to reduce out-of-pocket costs, we are extremely disappointed that the House of Representatives today put politics over patients by voting for legislation that will never become law,” said Joe Panetta, Biocom’s President and CEO. Click here to view the full release. Click here to view our original statement opposing the bill.

According to the Vital Transformation study commissioned by Biocom and CLSA, H.R.3 will lead to an 88 percent reduction in new medicines developed by small California biotech companies due to a 58 percent reduction in industry revenue. If H.R.3 had been in effect from 2009 to 2019, it is projected that California’s emerging companies would have brought only three new drugs to market, instead of 25. These drastic changes will severely affect small and emerging companies and high-risk and small population therapeutic areas.

Earlier that week, House Republicans had introduced a bill, H.R.19, the Lower Costs, More 2 Cures Act of 2019, which compiles bipartisan bills including drug transparency, Medicare Parts B & D provisions (including Part D benefit redesign), the CREATES Act, pay-for-delay, the BLOCKING Act, orange and purple book legislation, among others. The bill was offered as a substitute amendment on the floor but was defeated by a 223-201. The roll call is available here.

Although this is a major setback for our industry, the bill is not expected to be taken up by the Senate. It is important to note that we have had productive conversations with several California offices which felt they had to support the bill for political reasons in spite of their concerns and are willing to work with us going forward. Biocom will remain strongly engaged in the drug pricing debate and seek passage of reasonable and bipartisan proposals.