We Work For Health Statement on Release of CMS’ Prescription Drug Negotiation List

Flawed policy approach impacts growing list of areas of unmet patient need and the American workers who support biopharmaceutical invention

WASHINGTON--()--We Work For Health Executive Director Dan Leonard released the following statement in response to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ announcement of the first prescription drugs selected for price negotiations under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA):

“Today’s announcement lacks critical details for the American patients and workers who will be directly harmed by this flawed, short-sighted policy. While there has been so much attention placed on the list of drugs, the reality is that a growing list of areas of unmet patient need will face even greater hurdles as a result of the flawed policies and implementation of the IRA.

“Recent research shows that implementation of IRA or similar policies will lead to serious consequences in many areas of unmet patient need – including oncology, neurology, and rare and infectious diseases among others. This means that hundreds of future therapies will never be realized because companies are unable to reinvest returns on research and development of new medicines. Take cancer drugs, for example. IRA’s pricing provisions essentially poison the industry’s innovation ecosystem – impacting millions of Americans – at a time when the White House is touting a cancer moonshot program to lower rates of cancer. One is not possible without the other.

“Here’s what is possible. We could see the loss of as many as 1.1 million jobs throughout the biopharmaceutical industry and a decrease in U.S. competitiveness in the global ecosystem. We expect domestic drug competition and generic drug development to ultimately cost patients more money and decrease their access to the best care possible. Already-misaligned incentives will worsen while health insurance middlemen continue to enrich themselves. As history has demonstrated time and time again, any dollars “saved” will not go toward strengthening the Medicare program but will be siphoned off and used to fund non-healthcare related endeavors. This list of real-life impacts goes on and on.

“Our organization aims to empower life science innovation by advocating for policies that support a strong biotechnology industry and real, impactful cost saving policies for Americans. In the wake of this latest CMS overstep, we urge lawmakers to focus on incentivizing robust pharmaceutical research, improve patient access opportunities, protect and support high-quality drugs, and ensure America’s position as a global leader in healthcare and medical innovation remains strong.”

About We Work For Health

Since 2007, We Work For Health (WWFH) has been bringing together national and local business leaders, labor, biopharma, patient advocacy, and other healthcare-related stakeholders. WWFH is dedicated to promoting policies and initiatives that not only foster innovation and facilitate the delivery of lifesaving or life-enhancing medicines, but also value both the workforce and significant contributions of the biopharmaceutical sector to economies at the national, state, and local levels.