Local View: Pelosi plan wrong on drug prices
Local View

Local View: Pelosi plan wrong on drug prices

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There are several significant concerns with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s new drug proposal, H.R. 3 or the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019.

While this legislation aims to reduce the price of prescription drugs, the reality is that H.R. 3 would bring far more disruptions that we can’t afford. Above all, H.R. 3 is the beginning of a socialized health care system masked in the name of progress.

H.R. 3 would give the federal government the power to impose price controls on 250 of the most common drugs. This measure intends to bring down costs, but consider the implications of this type of government control.

Importantly, these drug prices will be determined by comparing prices to those of other countries – countries with socialist-run health care systems, many of which do not operate with the innovation and free-market approach that the U.S. does.

If companies cannot comply with these price controls, the federal government will impose substantial penalties that could include a tax of up to 95 percent of their annual gross sales.

This sets up a dangerous precedent that will be difficult to recover from. If H.R. 3 is allowed to pass, we will witness a new level of government overreach that also threatens patients and access to critical drugs.

On top of this strict government control, Pelosi’s proposal would create far-reaching impacts that would threaten critical research fields and our entire economy.

The biopharmaceutical sector currently supports more than 14,600 jobs in Nebraska. This proposal could also permanently delay the introduction of new medicines, which are critical to advancing treatments and even cures. Beyond this, Pelosi’s plan could lead to the loss of more than 2,600 jobs in Nebraska and more than $740 million in annual economic output for the state.

Lowering the prices of life-saving drugs is a critical goal and one that we must continue to take steps toward achieving in Congress. However, Pelosi’s proposal will not bring the change we need.

Using price controls, shutting down companies, and threatening critical research will hinder the introduction of new medicines and result in drugs becoming scarcer. Under this reality, drugs will become harder to access and prices could skyrocket.

Instead of pursuing Pelosi’s drug plan, we should support market-oriented ways to achieve lower drug costs. Americans deserve to pay fair prices for the medicine they need, plain and simple. Only through market-based reform and innovation – not socialism – we will achieve this goal.

Lisa May is president of the Nebraska Federation of Republican Women.

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