Innovation doesn’t end with a medicine’s first approval by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Most oncology medicines approved a decade ago have received additional indications for other types of cancers.
However, price setting provisions in the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act established what’s known as the “pill penalty,” which threatens the continued success of these achievements. With small molecule medicines, meaning medicines that typically come in pill or capsule form, selected for so-called “negotiation” just nine years after initial FDA approval, the law now disincentivizes continued investment in these groundbreaking discoveries. That’s an issue when most cancer medicines approved by the FDA are small molecule medicines, which patients may prefer because they are often easier to take than an infusion or a shot and can be taken at home.
At The Atlantic’s annual People v. Cancer event, I sat down with Catherine Owens, Senior Vice President and General Manager of US Commercialization at Bristol Myers Squibb, to unpack the potentially devastating impacts that the pill penalty could have on small molecule medicine development.
For decades, the biopharmaceutical industry has developed lifesaving treatments that have advanced the field of oncology and improved patient outcomes. In fact, since 1991, the cancer death rate has fallen 33%. It’s crucial that we establish policies that allow the biopharmaceutical industry to continue to innovate and develop treatments that provide better outcomes for patients.
Learn more here: PhRMA.org/Inflation-Reduction-Act