Back to the Future ...Dems Proposing HHS Breakthrough Drug Price "Negotiations"

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  • 01/11/2007
In retreat Democrats still want to control drug prices. Now the target are breakthrough drugs or one of a kind medicines as they were called in congressional testimony today. That means an attack on the most vulnerable...biotech companies -- who spend billions on research with hardly a hope of breaking even in the near time -- on breakthrough drugs for dying or severely ill patients.

We have be there before with disastrous consequences.....

We are back to the future when it comes to what
proponents of price control supporters want. They are
proposing special negotiating authority for new,
unique drugs.

Under the Clinton health plan, (and my thanks to the Heallthcare Blog for tracking this history down) because new drugs often initially have very high
prices, the Secretary was to have the authority to
negotiate special prices for breakthrough drugs
considered overpriced and could exclude these new
drugs from coverage if a rebate agreement could not be
reached. The Act also would have created an Advisory
Council on Breakthrough Drugs, which would advise the
Secretary on the reasonableness of launch prices of
new drugs representing significant advances over
existing therapies. Although the findings of the
council would not be binding, they would influence the
Secretary and the drug payments of other entities with
purchasing power.

The Advisory Council would have had the power to hold
hearings, supeona records publicly reprimand companies
whose prices are deemed excessive, and recommend to
the HHS secretary that it deny such companies the R&D
tax credit, Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement, or full
patent terms. This proposal caused the stock prices
for biotech companies plunge 40 percent.

Back then leading Democrats caved in....

From a 1994 biotech news roundup


In a move seen as a concession to the biotechnology industry,
Representative John Dingell (D-MI) announced last week that his
Energy and Commerce Committee is dropping a proposal to review
drug prices. The announcement apparently came in response to
pressure by Representative Lynn Schenk (D-CA), whose legislative
district contains 100 biotechnology companies. The Clinton proposal
would have established an Advisory Council on Breakthrough Drugs
to review charges of pharmaceutical price gouging. Schenk said, "The
proposal has already panicked financial markets and forced cutbacks
on research and development in the biotechnology industry." Carl
Feldbaum, president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization
(BIO), said, "Ms. Schenk has exercised extraordinary influence for a
freshman member of Congress. The ultimate winners will be the
people suffering from diseases that have no treatment or cure."

If Democrats want to repeat this part of history, they will get hammered even harder than they are now on their mangling of Part D.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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