fbpx Skip to main content

Subscribe to Biocom California’s Life Science Public Policy Newsletter

HHS Secretary Becerra Testified on Proposed HHS Budget Request

  • 2021-06-17T15:00:00.000+0000
  • Author: Izzie Omer

Tuesday, June 8th, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on the proposed FY 2022 budget request for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS requested $131.7 billion in discretionary funds and $1.5 trillion in mandatory funding. The discretionary funding request is $25 billion more than in FY 2021. Most noteworthy, there is significant investment in emergency preparedness and the strategic national stockpile.

Several House members, including Representative Nunes (R-CA), stressed the importance of robust domestic manufacturing of pharmaceuticals citing concerns over the US’s reliance on China for many medical products, an issue that the pandemic emphasized. Representative Nunes also brought up the concern the TRIPS waiver presents regarding protecting American innovation. Secretary Becerra responded that the American Rescue Plan provides $10 billion for the enhancement of domestic manufacturing and that President Biden is open to negotiating with companies on TRIPS.

Representative Reed (R-NY) asked for a commitment against using Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) in any drug pricing reform. QALYs are a measure of disease burden that assign value to a life based on illness. Many patient advocacy groups believe that QALYs undervalue the life of seniors and individuals with chronic conditions, rare diseases, and disabilities. Secretary Becerra did not commit to foregoing QALYs.