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Leader Rodgers Remarks in Health Subcommittee Hearing on the Future of Biomedicine


12.08.21

Washington, D.C. — Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following remarks in a Health Subcommittee hearing entitled, “The Future of Biomedicine: Translating Biomedical Research into Personalized Health Care.” 

 As prepared for delivery: 

CELEBRATING AMERICAN INNOVATION TO SAVE LIVES 

“The story of American biomedical innovation is one that must be celebrated.   

“Through the NIH’s Human Genome project, we now know that there are over 20 thousand human genes. To help discover new cures, this information is being used to identify genes found in conditions like Alzheimer’s, cancer, and rare diseases. 

“The 21st Century Cures Act gave the NIH the resources to advance basic biomedical research across the spectrum. 

“As Co-Chair of the Neuroscience Caucus, I have been a strong supporter of the BRAIN Initiative, which is aimed at finding new ways to treat, cure, and prevent brain disorders by exploring how the brain enables the body to store and retrieve information quickly. 

“The All of Us research program is also revitalizing the health care system by teaching us more about precision medicine and personalized care plans. I’m excited about these researchers’ innovative work that will reduce costs and most importantly, save lives and improve people’s quality of life.” 

SOCIALIST TAX AND SPENDING SPREE 

“America’s biopharmaceutical sector is vital to our global competitiveness. There are over 4,000 cancer drugs in the R&D pipeline, 700 for neurological conditions, and 450 for cardiovascular disease. 

 “We are on the verge of amazing breakthroughs. America is leading the way and bringing hope to patients across the world.  

“Unfortunately, the Democrats tax and spending spree would reverse this incredible work and eliminate the hope for future cures. Price controls included in Biden’s plan will kill innovation and lurch us toward government-controlled health care.  

“Like in Canada and the UK, the power would rest with the government to measure lives in dollars and cents before politicians decided whether a cure is “worth it.”  

“It would mean no hope for many people who deserve a fighting chance at life. It will also push private innovators further overseas and empower countries, like China, which is already racing to lead the world in biotechnology.  

“Surely, we all agree that less innovation, fewer cures, and a dependency on China cannot be America’s future. There was bipartisan agreement on this just a few months ago. That’s why H.R. 3 failed in this committee. 

“Unfortunately, the Democrats resurrected these dangerous policies when their reckless tax and spend spree reached the House Floor.  

FEWER CURES 

“The Congressional Budget Office confirmed that there will be fewer new medicines as a result of the price controls that ultimately passed the House. 

“A University of Chicago study estimates that it would shrink R&D spending by 18.5 percent and lead to 135 fewer new drugs. The study found price controls would generate a loss of 331.5 million life years, which measures the lost potential of saved lives and longer years lived. This study found that Speaker Pelosi’s price controls would lead to 21 to 43 fewer new antiviral drugs. 

 “They estimate 4 to 9 fewer new HIV drug approvals and about 2.5 to 5.1 million life years lost as a result of the price controls. We’ve heard some suggest that this reduction in cures and treatments is just a feature or built-in cost of bringing down drug costs.  

“It’s been suggested that it’s “worth it”, and a tradeoff Americans are willing to accept. That’s wrong. 

 “Democrats are proposing a false choice on families like Khrystal Davis who believe in the promise of American innovation so her son Hunter can live a full life. 

 “We should be doing all that we can to encourage hope and the next generation of cures. We should reject political exercises to score points with a significant cost to patients down the road.  

“Instead of price controls, we should focus on the areas for bipartisan work like solutions in HR 19 that will result in increased competition and lower patient costs, without sacrificing the future of biomedical innovation in the United States.” 

 

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