Senator Joe Manchin (D - West Virginia) addresses supporters outside the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Senate Democrats via Wikimedia Commons.

Across the pond, Brits are demanding their next prime minister do something to reduce the U.K.’s notorious cancer death rates. But here in the U.S., Democrats are doing the opposite. They’re pushing for European-style price controls on drugs that will slow cancer cures and lead to more deaths. Americans enjoy the highest cancer survival rates in the world — but maybe not for long.

Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin call their legislation the Inflation Reduction Act. Don’t let the title fool you. The bill cripples the ability of drug companies to develop new cures. It should be called the Lifespan Reduction Act.

The bill empowers the federal government to impose price controls on top-selling brand-name drugs, starting in 2026. Virtually all health experts agree these price controls will discourage innovation.

The only disagreement is how grave the impact will be. The Congressional Budget Office lowballs the number of new drugs that will never be developed and declines to predict the “effects of forgone innovation on public health.” But the Office of Health Economics, a think tank, foresees “significant losses in biopharmaceutical innovation and hence health for the U.S. and global populations over the coming decades.”

The Global Colon Cancer Association, which helps patients battling cancer, warned on Tuesday that the bill “will backfire, leading to less of the medical innovation we need to finally defeat cancer.”

It’s amazing that Congress is ignoring these warnings. Democrats are bragging about reducing prescription drug prices but are not admitting that you could be paying for that discount down the road with your life.

Democrats claim the government will “negotiate” with drug companies to reach a fair price. Untrue. The bill says government will dictate the price. Any company that refuses that price will get hit with a tax as high as 95% of revenue. That’s a gun to the head, not a negotiation. Democrats are playing word games with “negotiate,” just as they did with “recession.”

Medical investors look at the expected future revenue from a drug to decide how much to invest. Even non-American companies rely on selling in the American market for their profits. But the proposed price controls tell investors to put their money in some other industry, not medical innovation.

European drug developers led the world, until price controls shut down innovation. Now, drug development in Europe attracts only 3% of the investment capital available in the U.S. It’s a warning.

Countries that promote drug development have better cancer survival rates, reports Columbia University economist Frank Lichtenberg, who compared rates in 36 countries.

The U.S. proves the point. Cancer death rates here have plunged since 2000. Research in the Journal of Medical Economics shows that since that year, more than 1.3 million cancer patients have been saved by new treatments for 15 different types of cancer.

Don’t expect that to continue under price controls. The University of Chicago’s Tomas J. Philipson and Troy Durie calculate that hundreds of potential cures will go undeveloped over the next decade, leading to a loss of life greater than what we’ve experienced from COVID.

These are lives that would be saved if the current pace of innovation continued, instead of being blocked by the Manchin-Schumer deal.

Is their price control scheme even constitutional? The Congressional Research Service suggests forcing drug manufacturers to lower prices for all customers, not just government, might violate the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment. Certainly, a 95% tax on revenues of companies that refuse could be considered “excessive” punishment under the Eighth Amendment.

Even so, Democrats are rushing to pass their 725-page bill, with its many varied provisions and cockeyed priorities. The bill pours hundreds of billions of public dollars into companies that install solar panels and build electric vehicles in the name of saving the planet.
But the same bill strips biotech and drug companies of the ability to attract billions in research and development funds and produce the next generation of cures. As if saving the planet is all important, and saving lives no longer matters.

Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. Follow her on Twitter @Betsy_McCaughey. To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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10 months ago

Democrats, or those pretending to be “representatives” of the American people have pushed legislation which reduces or controls citizens access to the best medical care. “Obamacare” was one of the first large scale efforts to increase government control over medical care and make it more difficult for American citizens to manage or control their own lives. Since then, big pharmaceutical companies have pressured members of congress, medicare and professional medical organizations to follow government guidelines for treatment of members of the general public. The FDA continues to add more drugs to it’s “controlled substances listing” requiring pharmacists to limit sales to “prescription only”. The result is even more government control over what doctors or patients can obtain or use for their own healthcare and higher costs for everyone.
Members of congress have their own health insurance plan which provides them with almost unlimited healthcare and exemptions from most of the restrictions that American citizens have to put up with.

angry taxpayer
9 months ago
Reply to  Raven

We the “tax payers” pay for the members of congress healthcare, wages, pensions, and God knows what else!

10 months ago

No to worry, all the Americans that die at the hands of Democrats will be replaced by ILLEGAL Immigrants and their 8 offspring. Rejoice!

10 months ago

Sheesh…..Honestly, I’m torn on this one. Americans should learn how to be LESS dependent on Big Pharma and more capable of avoiding cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other avoidable illnesses with some form of low carb, animal based whole foods diet, which many are now discovering does prevent and heal a whole host of chronic ailments. But at the same time, they are artificially restricting fertilizer, attacking truckers, shutting down cheap, available energy (to be outsourced to much dirtier, more expensive places) and using the fraudulent “climate change” narrative to justify robbing, impoverishing and ultimately murdering millions of Americans. And this is an issue all throughout the western world. We have been sold out to China, Russia, and the Middle East by elitists who are lining their pocket with backroom deals and laughing all the way to the bank. This is treason on steroids. I hope we can stop the madness before it’s too late.

10 months ago

The government is looking to save social security,by curbing life savings means,& killing off the social security recipients as early as possible

10 months ago

This bill REALLY screws the seniors and retirees across the country. DEMS will support illegals more than US citizens. Pathetic!!

10 months ago