Grassley, Wyden drug pricing bill could have 'chilling effect' on specialty drug innovation, biotechs warn

A group of 35 biotech associations sent a letter to Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) warning that their plan to redesign Medicare Part D could have a "chilling effect" on specialty drug innovation.

The senators' bill, called the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act, was passed by the Senate Finance Committee in July, and some lawmakers believe it has a better chance of becoming law than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's more progressive drug pricing bill.

The group of biotech associations said for smaller companies, the senators' plan "represents a highly concerning shift in liability to those companies investing in the medical areas of highest unmet need."

Specifically, the associations warned the 20 percent manufacturer liability in the catastrophic phase of the restructured benefit could hurt specialty drug innovation, arguing it "runs contrary to the many actions Congress has taken to incentivize the development of breakthrough therapies."

The biotech associations noted that progress in developing cures for diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and ALS have been difficult to attain, and continued investment in research is the only path to potential cures.

They also warned patients waiting for therapies could find themselves unnecessarily waiting longer, if not indefinitely, if the senators' bill becomes law.

The letter said the biotechs want to work with the senators to explore solutions that "balance the needs of patients, the federal government, and innovative companies."

Read the full letter here.

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