President Biden’s unintended war on cancer patients | The Hill | 06/28/22

By Tomas J. Philipson

Patients could become the collateral damage of a tug of war that Washington is playing between lowering drug prices and lowering the death rate from cancer. It comes at a moment when the White House’s proposed Cancer Moonshot initiative took center stage at the flagship meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) resumes talks with Democratic leadership to revitalize drug price controls. Despite the great intent of the Cancer Moonshot, new evidence tells us the joint implementation of such price controls from Congress will raise cancer mortality substantially and stall out decades of progress to discover treatments for a devastating and personal disease.

Cancer is the second leading cause of deaths in the U.S. today, killing about 600,000 Americans a year. Most of us have been left behind by loved ones who became victims of the dreadful disease. Given its large historical presence, in 1971 the National Cancer Act was passed in a bipartisan fashion, spurring the War on Cancer through decades of significant public investment in cancer research that continues to this day. Evidence has found that the economic rates of returns of this war, the gains in cancer longevity relative to investments in research and development (R&D), have been enormous and that cancer patient gains from the war have been five times as large as those of drug companies who made such investments.

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June 28, 2022

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