May 9, 2019
Senator Richard L. Scott
716 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Scott,
We are writing to express our concerns regarding your new proposal, the Transparent Drug Pricing Act, and urge you to withdraw it.
As Governor of Florida and a United States Senator you have been a tireless defender of free market, limited government solutions. That is particularly true when it comes to ensuring Floridians have access to affordable quality healthcare.
We applaud your efforts to find responsible ways to reduce health care and drug costs. However, doing so through foreign price controls is a troubling solution which undercuts your stated desire to defend “free market principles in healthcare.” Foreign price controls threaten to reduce access to medicines and stifle research and development.
This policy proposal seeks to impose the price that drug companies receive from Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan on to the United States. However, the policy you are proposing fails to take into account that these nations achieve their prices by imposing various price control schemes, limiting the number of medications available to patients who need them, and often forcing manufacturers to either accept prices or lose the ability to sell in the market altogether.
In some instances, because of inadequate international patent protection regimes, countries might even threaten to take an American manufacturer’s product and permit a local manufacturer produce and distribute it. The sales that result under all these conditions do not result in the establishment of fair and free-market prices.
In Canada, for example, a government agency known as the “Patented Medicine Prices Review Board” is tasked with setting drug prices with an eye toward making sure they “are not excessive.” In the United Kingdom, a government agency known as the “National Institute of Health and Care Excellence” sets prices on drugs by crudely evaluating each medicine’s “cost-effectiveness.” Both of these agencies routinely delay and deny access to advanced treatments. To put it plainly, patients in these other countries often are not given a choice as to whether or not they get access to a new lifesaving medicine — their government decides for them.
While American patients could immediately access 88 percent of new medicines launched between 2011 and 2018, those in Canada and the UK could only access just 49 percent and 66 percent, respectively.
You are correct to note that “it’s unfair that consumers in other countries get a better deal than patients here in America.” But importing socialist price controls won’t solve that problem. Demanding that other nations fairly value innovative medicines will.
America leads the world in medical innovation because we appropriately value new treatments and cures.
On average, it takes more than $2.5 billion, and 10-15 years, to bring a single new medicine to market. Research companies are willing to take on such risk because they know that in the United States, they have a chance of earning back their investment and earning a profit.
Importing foreign price controls would destroy incentives to develop new medicines. Europe proves this. In the 1970s, the continent created 55 percent of the world’s new medicines, but today, thanks largely to its socialist pricing schemes, the continent develops just one in three new treatments.
Your bill could rob your constituents in Florida and patients across the United States of cutting-edge medicines now and in the future. This would threaten the lives of countless Americans. We would encourage you, as someone with extensive knowledge of the healthcare industry, to lead the charge in market-based solutions – examining the excessive regulatory hurdles to bringing new drugs to market, anticompetitive actions by PBMs, and other bureaucratic impediments that harm patients.
While campaigning for the Senate, you noted that “we all do poorly under socialism.” You’re right. That’s why we urge you to withdraw your proposal. We are available at your convenience to discuss this issue further and we thank you for your service to the great state of Florida and the United States.
Dr. Bob McClure
President and CEO, The James Madison Institute
President, Republican Men’s Club of Collier County
President, Legacy Republican Club (Lake County)
Managing Director, Florida Citizens Alliance
Michelle Smith Flowers
President, Oncology Managers of Florida, Inc
Assistant Treasurer, Collier County Republican Party
Host, The Bob Harden Show
Columnist, Florida Weekly
Member of the Board of Directors, Foundation for Government Accountability
Secretary, Libertarian Party of Florida
Dr. Raymond Kordonowy
Lead Physician, Florida Southwest Chapter of the Free Market Medical Association Former Delegate, Florida Medical Association
Former President, Independent Physicians Association of Lee County
Dennis J. Kulonda, PhD
President, Republican Club of the Plantation at Leesburg
Cliff Zhonggang Li
Executive Director, National Committee of Asian American Republicans
Chairman, Palm Beach Chapter of the National Committee of Asian American Republicans
Chairman, Martin 912 Tea Party Committee
Chair, Miami Center-Right Coalition
President, The Villages Tea Party
Founder, The Villages Conservative Media
Linda D. Montalbano
Special Education Advocate
Member, Republican Party of Highlands County
Chairman, The Highlands Tea Party (Sebring)
President, National Committee of Romanian American Republicans
Former City Commission Candidate, Boynton Beach
Alicia Evans Vernon
Chair, Bradenton Christian Women’s Connection
Manatee/Sarasota County Lead, Christian Family Coalition
Co-Chair, Florida Center-Right Coalition
Chairman, National Liberty Federation
Former Chairman, South Florida Tea Party