Stop picking winners and losers in healthcare

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It’s not unheard of for lawmakers to pick economic winners and losers when Congress passes major legislation.

Some companies and industries will thrive under the new law, while others will not. This often has negative consequences for consumers and can have devastating consequences when products that affect our health and lives are involved.

This can also be seen in the Inflation Control Law enacted last year. While the IRA has some positive aspects, such as capping Medicare beneficiaries’ insulin copayments at $35, the law also affects Arizona’s patients, especially those with serious health conditions or It also produced unintended consequences that would be very harmful to patients who would suffer from it. conditions.

I am the founder and CEO of the Arizona Myeloma Network, a 501(c)(3) cancer charity. Because the whole family is affected, we work not only with myeloma patients and their families, but also with all cancer patients and their caregivers.

I also participate as an advocate for other patient groups throughout Arizona to support policies that protect access to care and promote patient well-being. Finally, we help solve patient insurance issues, out-of-pocket costs, and lack of access to quality resources. We are doing our best to work with federal leaders and, in this instance, ask them to address some of the policies of the Inflation Act that are harmful to patients.

By choosing “winners” and “losers” in healthcare, this law will produce far-reaching consequences that affect millions of Americans.

Under the Control Inflation Act, Medicare program prescription drugs are subject to government pricing, but not all drugs are treated equally. Basically he has two big categories of drugs. Small molecules and large molecules, the latter commonly known as biologics. About 90% of all prescription drugs are small molecules in nature, from aspirin to high cholesterol drugs to chemotherapy drugs. Biologics, or macromolecular drugs, are slow and expensive to develop and are used to treat complex conditions such as autoimmune and genetic disorders.

The IRA subjects both small and large molecule drugs to government price controls. The difference lies in the period in which pharmaceutical companies must recoup their R&D investments before price controls begin. For macromolecular drugs, it is 13 years. Small-molecule drugs have a lifespan of only nine years. In this case Congress has clearly picked winners and losers, but doing so has painful consequences.

This unexplained timing discrepancy will negatively impact innovation investment in small molecule drugs and therapeutics. It’s simple logic. Capital investors will direct their money toward products that are exempt from federally imposed price caps for another four years. Research funding is not unlimited and the politician through his IRA decides where to spend most of it. The losers will be patients dependent on small-molecule drugs.

In Arizona, more than 4 million people live with chronic diseases. These conditions must be managed on an ongoing basis to successfully control symptoms. Patients with these chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, asthma, and depression, require effective drugs and require new treatments and innovations in treatment. Price controls alone will make it even more difficult to bring groundbreaking new drugs to market. It is unfair and often tragic to choose certain medicines, especially medicines that affect so many patients with various health problems, to be severely impacted by price controls.

An immediate action Congress could take would be to correct this IRA shortcoming and give small molecule drugs the same 13-year grace period as biologics before government pricing begins. Governments should not pick winners and losers among patients with the same drug. Need for quality healthcare. These deficiencies in the R&D system need to be proactively addressed.

Arizona has played a leadership role not only in new cancer drugs, but also in access to new clinical trials and treatments. My husband was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in her 1991, just before her marriage. She was told that there was only one drug available and that she had one to three years to live.

32 years have passed. And he is fine, and we are blessed to have access to new drugs and treatments that are now available. This would not have been possible if these IRA policies were in force at the time.

Arizona Senators Kirsten Cinema and Mark Kelly are friends in the patient community. I hope they will use their influence to defend us again.

Barbara Kavanagh is the founder and CEO of the Arizona Myeloma Network, a statewide nonprofit organization that provides resources and programs to cancer patients and their families. Their new educational platform is currently available at: Ms. Kavanagh’s commentary was provided to the news press by Center Square, a non-profit journalism organization.

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