On Friday, November 19, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better bill on a 220-213 vote. The bill now moves to the Senate for further review and action. Valued at close to $2 trillion, the bill includes a potpourri of Democratic social spending priorities that includes free preschool for 3 and 4 year old children, initiatives to fight climate change and affordable housing programs. The bill also includes increases to Pell grants for college tuition, expands family leave, and provides new hearing benefit for seniors. It also incudes “pay fors” including increases corporate taxes, funds additional resources for IRS enforcement, AND implements price controls on certain medicines. Investors and life science companies of all sizes have expressed serious concerns that if the latter provisions pass the Senate and are implemented the impact on future health innovation could be devastating.
“Build Back Better Act” Weakens U.S. Innovation Ecosystem, Hurts Patients
November 19, 2021
Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act:
“The legislation that passed the House today will upend a successful Medicare system and weaken the innovation ecosystem that has made America the leader in the development of new treatments and cures that are so critical for patients in the United States and around the globe.
“We have repeatedly warned that the legislation will create billions of dollars in market distortions and unintended consequences for patients. It will have enormous implications in what research investments are made and if important new classes of medicines can attract the funding they need to get from the bench to a patient’s bedside.
“The biopharmaceutical sector is one of the most vibrant and vital pieces of America’s economy. Legislators were forced to spend over $2.8 trillion in stimulus money because of the pandemic, but now they eagerly enact price controls and other anti-innovation policies targeting the very industry that ended the pandemic. As drafted, the legislation punishes vaccines, orphan and rare disease therapies, and complex gene sequencing drug discovery platforms — including the one that led to the COVID vaccine — amongst other egregious policies.
“As the bill moves to the Senate, we hope that Senators will consider how these drastic changes will adversely impact patients and do real harm to a sector that is vital to our nation’s health, national security, and long-term competitiveness.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 19, 2021) – PhRMA President and CEO Stephen J. Ubl released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act, which includes the Democrats’ drug pricing plan:
“The consequences of this heavy-handed drug pricing plan will make a broken insurance system worse and throw sand in the gears of medical progress. It will stifle continued innovation after a medicine is first approved, discourage the introduction of generics and biosimilar treatments and undermine the robust competition that has made the Medicare Part D program a success for millions of seniors. Meanwhile, the bill doesn’t address perverse incentives in the system that are leading to higher costs for patients. This is a disappointing day for patients, and I hope the Senate will reject this flawed drug pricing plan and deliver the more balanced approach patients deserve.”
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested more than $1 trillion in the search for new treatments and cures, including $91.1 billion in 2020 alone.
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