Yesterday morning, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing to discuss a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on the cost of prescription drugs.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) sent a letter to the committee encouraging an approach that is focused on policies and reforms that are in step with the next generation of health care delivery and the development of new medicines.
No one is more frustrated with rising health care costs than manufacturers. Over the course of the year, a significant number of NAM members have reported premium increases of at least 10 percent annually. In addition, manufacturers consistently rank rising health care costs as a top primary business challenge according to past NAM Outlook Surveys conducted each quarter.
Unfortunately, the National Academy of Sciences report is shortsighted and recommends approaches that will shift costs to the private sector. Furthermore, the report questions the critical importance of intellectual property protections and unfairly blames rigorous intellectual property rights for inhibiting more affordable treatments.
Improving outcomes, boosting innovation incentives and continuing to reduce the approval process for new medicines are a better focus than additional government interventions. Value-based arrangements that focus on outcomes are encouraging, but outdated regulations need to be modernized to achieve greater acceptance, savings and increased efficiencies.
Protecting intellectual property and trade secrets for all manufacturers is critical to the success of the entire manufacturing industry. It is what gives manufacturers assurance that the billions of dollars and time spent developing new products are worth the investment. Without the right incentives, innovation will be curtailed, and competition in the marketplace will decline.
Manufacturers are always ready for health care solutions and will work on efforts that support a successful, competitive and affordable health care system.