Opinion: Congress is about to legislate a future without new medicines. We have a better plan

One of the fundamental principles on which the U.S. economy is based is that the expectation of a positive return drives one’s willingness to invest time and money. Individuals investing in a portfolio of stocks hope that some stocks’ gains will offset others’ losses. Yet Congress threatens to dismantle this framework, extinguishing an ecosystem that employs millions of people and serves as a global leader in creating new medicines for deadly diseases.

Legislators in Washington are considering a reconciliation package that would ostensibly enable Medicare to “negotiate” the price of medicines it covers for American seniors. Negotiation is a core principle of any market. We support that and want all insurance plans, including Medicare, to negotiate with competing companies to win the best prices. But the proposed policy does not entail true negotiation. What it actually does is redefine the word to mean that the government can force a company to accept any price under threat of a ruinous 95% penalty tax.

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