An EPIC Fix for the Inflation Reduction Act

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In an election year, voters are likely to hear candidates laud even their own most contentious policy agendas as legislative victories. A fact check is in order, however, for the healthcare provisions in the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act. What voters aren’t being told is that one key line item in the act will have a huge impact on a vital treatment option for seniors.

With little admiration for the value of these treatments, the Inflation Reduction Act essentially discourages their creation, and while not intentional, this policy comes at the expense of patients. Pill-form drugs, known as “small-molecule drugs” in the science community, treat everything from neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s to allergies and high cholesterol.

Aging adults are at higher risk of developing these diseases or symptoms and, therefore, largely rely on pill-form drugs to manage their conditions. The beauty of these pills is that they are typically small and taken by mouth, as opposed to other treatments that are typically administered by care providers, and they are much more convenient to take, rarely requiring trips to hospitals or outpatient facilities. They are also made into generic drugs, the lower-cost medications that so many of us take, and physicians often consider them first-choice options for many different medical treatments.

Needless to say, this drug class plays a significant role in seniors’ everyday routines as they manage their health conditions, both big and small. Even a slight reduction in the quantity of new medications within this category would carry significant implications.

This is particularly critical in North Carolina, where more than 2.1 million Medicare beneficiaries will be directly affected by the Inflation Reduction Act’s government-imposed prices and the lack of new development that will come as a result.

Thankfully, Reps. Greg Murphy (R-NC) and Don Davis (D-NC), along with Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), have taken a critical step to remedy this dangerous policy through their introduction of the Ensuring Pathways to Innovative Cures Act, which would correct the technical provision by removing the incentives working against the creation of pill-form medications and steer investments back toward their development. Various treatment options and types are crucial to supporting patients in need, so we should take all of the medications and therapies we can get.

As a fellow veteran, I was particularly pleased to see Davis’s support of this cause. Supporting our nation’s veterans through the development of a diverse selection of first-in-class treatments and medications is nothing short of critical. Not to mention, Davis is working across the aisle to remedy the dangerous provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act, which has largely been considered a landmark law among his colleagues.

In a hyperpolitical year, it should say everything we need to know to see members of Congress correcting the record to ensure seniors and veterans have access to the most advanced treatments for decades to come. The EPIC Act is a step in the right direction and should be supported unequivocally by any lawmaker who wants to put people’s healthcare needs before their own political interests.


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