Opinion: Drug pricing conversations must take the cost of innovation into consideration

Congressional and presidential efforts to lower drug prices today must also tackle the fundamental question of how much innovation we are willing to pay for to create tomorrow's new drugs.
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks as (from left) Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) listen during a news conference on prescription drugs on Thursday in Washington. Source: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Midterm elections have ushered in a decidedly split 116th Congress. Yet the desire to lower U.S. pharmaceutical spending, which now exceeds $450 billion a year and dwarfs that of any other developed nation, is likely to continue uniting some strange bedfellows. Lawmakers from both side of the aisle are doing a disservice to Americans by uniting behind populist drug pricing proposals that ignore the harsh realities of drug development in favor of simplicity and sloganeering.

Consider the unlikely coalition of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), and President Donald Trump calling to tie U.S. drug prices to those of our international peers.

Just Thursday, Sanders, Cummings, and Khanna aimed at drugs that are considered “excessively priced” — those whose U.S. price exceeds the average amount paid by five other developed countries. The secretary of health and human services would be charged with ending patent protection for such drugs, opening

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