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White House Takes Additional Steps Towards Fairer Pricing for Drugs Developed With Taxpayer Funding

Washington, D.C. – Today, the White House and HHS announced that the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) would make clauses requiring fair prices standard in contract negotiations for the development or purchase of medical products. Public Citizen long has advocated for fair pricing and other conditions supporting access to medicines in U.S. funding agreements with prescription drug corporations. Peter Maybarduk, Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program director, released the following statement:

“To make medicine affordable, start early, before it’s on the market at a high price.

“Today’s announcement is a win for fairer pricing and, though it is narrow in applicability, represents meaningful executive action by the Biden administration.

“Most new medicines have benefited from public research and development grants and other support. Fair pricing is the least that taxpayers should ask of drug corporations in return.

“ASPR’s policy will help ensure that Americans are not paying more than people in other wealthy countries for the health security-related medicines their tax dollars support, including those under development against COVID at the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, BARDA. Had such policies been in place broadly several years ago, Moderna would have had a hard time spiking prices and ripping off taxpayers for the NIH-Moderna vaccine as it has this year.

“The National Institutes of Health should follow immediately with a fair pricing policy of its own. NIH supports nearly $50 billion a year in biomedical research, and a fair pricing policy at NIH would go farther to support affordability of the many and varied medicines that Americans need.

“Finally, the U.S. government cannot leave out the rest of the world. High prices lead to treatment rationing and preventable suffering everywhere. ASPR, NIH and other federal agencies should write global access conditions into their funding agreements and help fight the deadly legacy of inequity that characterized the COVID emergency.

“We thank the White House, HHS and ASPR for their action.”