Issues

A new poll from the California-based nonpartisan think tank, the Pacific Research Institute (PRI), shows that Americans overwhelmingly support innovative gene therapies, which change the focus of medicine from treating illnesses to curing illnesses. Click here to read the top-line results of PRI’s poll on gene therapies “Gene therapies have the potential to cure a wide array of difficult-to-treat diseases, including Alzheimer’s Disease, autism, cystic fibrosis, HIV, and cancer, among others” said Dr. Wayne Winegarden, director of PRI’s Center for Medical Economics...

The World Health Organization (WHO) is advocating that the price of cancer treatments are excessive, but its report that justifies this conclusion contains significant biases that drastically over-estimates the revenues multiple over research and development (R&D) costs, according to a new issue brief released today by the Center for Medical Economics and Innovation at the non-partisan Pacific Research Institute. “Cancer medications have revolutionized treatment, and it is unfortunate if the WHO’s flawed analysis jeopardizes patients’ access to these life-saving medicines” says...

The Trump administration is planning to propose one of the biggest changes to Medicare in decades. The draft rule aims to reduce government spending by linking Medicare drug reimbursement rates to the rates in more than a dozen other Western countries that use price controls to hold down pharmaceutical spending. If implemented, the rule would effectively bring socialist drug price controls to the United States. Though the government would save some money in the short term, the change would threaten patients’ health and...

The U.S. economy thrives on innovation. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, industries that intensively rely on intellectual property (IP) protections, which includes the biopharmaceutical industry, account for nearly 40 percent of the U.S. economy and are responsible for an outsized share of our overall economic growth. Beyond the growth benefits, innovations improve our lives in countless ways. From mobile technologies inaptly called “mobile phones” to cutting-edge medicines that treat formerly incurable diseases, innovation helps us live better lives. Within this...

The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee has just released a bi-partisan bill authored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) that would make health care more affordable and more transparent for patients. These reforms are not grandiose fantasies that are destined to fail, such as “Medicare for All”. Instead, the bill proposes modest “common sense” reforms that target specific inefficiencies and disincentives that plague the current health care system. For starters, the bill would promote greater...

Measles is making a comeback. As of May 17, there were over 800 reported cases of the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s more than in any of the last four years. This uptick is dispiriting but shouldn’t be surprising. More and more people are deciding not to get their shots. In the past decade, the number of nonmedical vaccine exemptions for philosophical reasons has increased in 12 of the 18 states that allow them. A surge...

The wrong model, no matter how hard you work it, will never provide the right answer. When it comes to how we pay for health care, the U.S. is using the wrong model. What’s worse, these financing inadequacies could threaten the viability of new therapies that will bring hope to patients who formerly had none. The well-being, and sometimes the lives of patients, depend on getting the health care financing model correct. New gene therapies will transform the treatment of devastating diseases. For...

There is a legal adage that “hard cases make bad law.” California may soon rediscover this wisdom. Assembly member Jim Wood has introduced a bill (AB 824) with the intention of discouraging “pay-for-delay” tactics. “Pay-for-delay” practices refer to a situation when a manufacturer of a patented drug pays the manufacturer of a generic drug to delay launching its competitive product in order to extend its exclusivity period. Undoubtedly, these practices are anti-competitive and violate the spirit of the entire patent system. Such...

Why People with Diabetes Drive for Hours to Buy Insulin in Canada By Christopher Curley For Lija Greenseid, the math was simple. Drive a few hours to pay $56 for a box of Humalog insulin pens for her young daughter with type 1 diabetes or pay as much as $230 at home. The decision, in fact, was a no-brainer for Greenseid and a group of diabetes advocates and patients who made the trek from Minnesota to Canada to buy insulin in early May. That trip...

In its international edition on April 25, the New York Times ran a blatantly anti-Semitic political cartoon that portrayed a blind President Trump wearing a yarmulke being led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was depicted as a dog wearing a collar with a star of David. It was, of course, outrageous, and seemed to me symptomatic of the Times' cluelessness about many things. Putting it another way, its editors, reporters, and columnists often don't know what they don't know....

Sometimes the important reforms are those that address the mundane details. The Administration’s proposed changes to how pharmaceutical rebates are paid fall into this category. While far from a panacea, this reform could meaningfully improve the pharmaceutical market. For this reason, the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) just released “budget score“ on the proposal is disconcerting. A budget score from the CBO estimates the impact of policy changes on the federal budget. In this case, the CBO estimates that between 2020 and 2029 the...

The costs of medicines continue to dominate the headlines, attracting the attention of Congress and the Trump Administration. Reforms are necessary, but many of the reforms under consideration will make the situation worse. Indexing U.S. prices to the prices in other countries that use price controls, or using third-party arbitration to set the price of prescription drugs, exemplify these wrong-headed policies. The Trump Administration’s proposal would set Medicare Part B prices (prices for drugs administered in a clinical setting) to the...

Gene therapies are transformative treatments that fundamentally differ from traditional medical and pharmaceutical options because they modify a patient’s DNA in order to address the genetic causes of diseases. These therapies have the potential to dramatically improve the lives of millions of Americans living with life-threatening or life-altering diseases. Since gene therapies directly address the genetic causes of diseases, doctors and scientists anticipate that these therapies will be cures. If successful, the goal will no longer be simply treating these devastating diseases...

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) has just doubled down on one of the Trump Administration’s unsound ideas. His proposal is disappointing for many reasons, particularly because Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, has proposed an alternative reform that, if Congress implemented, would meaningfully improve the affordability of prescription drugs for patients. As part of the “Transparent Drug Pricing Act of 2019”, Senator Scott proposes to set the list price of all medicines to the lowest retail list price among five...

Gene therapies have the potential to dramatically improve the lives of millions of Americans living with life-threatening diseases. Watch the video to learn how policy obstacles are standing in the way of making gene therapies a reality for millions. [vc_video link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCW-E9i_jP8"]...

Congress could soon vote on legislation that would gut America’s intellectual property laws. The bill isn’t just bad news for big pharmaceutical companies that hold lucrative patents. It’s terrible news for patients — medical research spending would dry up without strong patent protections. Americans could lose out on cures for cancer, heart disease, and other deadly chronic conditions. The proposed law would target patented drugs sold through Medicare’s Part D prescription drug program. Right now, private insurance companies design Part D plans...

Today’s hearing in front of the Senate Finance Committee will, unfortunately, be another wasted opportunity. Surely, Senators will make grandiose speeches and be shocked at the cost of drugs. They will also continue to support the very policies that are causing the problems the hearing is supposed to address. A February 25th editorial from the New York Times exemplifies why this opportunity for effective reforms may very well be lost. The Senate hearing is not a day of reckoning as the Times claims. It should be an opportunity...

In California, politics is taking precedence over patients. That’s the only conclusion to draw from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recently released health care plan. He’s looking to impose price controls on prescription drugs. He’d like to expand Medicaid to undocumented immigrants up to the age of 26. He’s called for re-imposing the individual mandate, which would require everyone in the state to obtain coverage. He wants to subsidize the purchase of health insurance for those making up to six times the poverty...