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Biotech warns about Drug Abuse from San Diego

The Biotech sector in San Diego and its allies are opposing a measure that would allow Medicare to negotiate medication costs, claiming that the idea would hinder innovation, even as proponents accuse the business of hoarding profits. H.R. 3 was supposed to be a crucial component of President Biden’s $3.5 trillion economic recovery package. It would allow the federal government to negotiate medication costs with the assurance that pharmaceuticals in the United States would cost no more than 120 percent of what they cost in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicare covers around 63 million people in the United States. Supporters argue that the plan is basic sense and long overdue, while opponents say it will hinder corporations from recouping the expenses of producing life-saving drugs. Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, is one of the few House Democrats who believe this. He warns that the proposal would harm San Diego’s economy, which is home to one of the nation’s top Biotech hubs, and would eventually harm patients.

In the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday, Peters voted against H.R.3 and instead presented a more modest alternative. His idea would cap the cost of insulin at $50 per month and limit out-of-pocket payments for seniors based on their income. Other clauses would penalize corporations who raised medicine prices faster than inflation in recent years and allow price negotiation on a restricted number of drugs. He predicts that his approach will save $200 billion over ten years, while the impartial Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Medicare price provision in H.R.3 will save $450 billion.

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