This week, the Minority Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance released a report entitled, “A Tangled Web: An Examination of the Drug Supply and Payment Chains.” The report is the latest to look at the nation’s complex drug cost ecosystem.
More patients are finding that what they have to pay for prescription drugs is simply unaffordable. That’s why BIO has repeatedly called on policymakers to advance reforms that will help provide all patients affordable access to the medicines they need. Real reform requires a holistic approach, one that recognizes the roles insurers, pharmacy benefits managers, hospitals and other health care actors play in determining what people pay for their prescription drugs.
Unfortunately, this report provides a distorted view of the biopharmaceutical industry. For example, it doesn’t mention the fact that 90% of all biopharmaceutical companies are unprofitable and most biotech companies are small businesses. It also fails to recognize that when compared to other industries, the biotech sector collectively ranks near the bottom in terms of profitability. Finally, it gives scant attention to the tremendous value biopharmaceutical innovation provides patients and our broader health care system.
Biopharmaceutical innovators invest enormous amounts of time and resources bringing new cures and treatments to market, yet a large share of what’s spent each year on prescription drugs goes to insurance companies and other middlemen. While we disagree with the conclusions in this report, we have long been encouraging policymakers to carefully review the complex way drugs are delivered to patients. We believe such an effort will ultimately lead to real solutions that provide all patients access to the medicines they need at a cost they can afford.