Rep. Scott Peters at the Sanford-Burnham-Prebys Medical Research Institute. Photo courtesy Peters’ office

Rep. Scott Peters is leading centrist Democrats in Congress in a fight against price controls that could reduce private investment in the development of new drugs.

“I have proposed an alternative drug pricing reform model that will keep Democrats’ promise to lower out-of-pocket costs for medicines, in part by empowering the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate prices,” said Peters on Tuesday.

“I look forward to working constructively with my colleagues to achieve reforms that help patients, support future innovation and grow American jobs,” he added.

Peters and Rep. Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon announced alternative legislation that they said “eliminates loopholes, promotes competition, and fights the exploitation of patients by placing fair checks on insurers, manufacturers and drug companies.”

At the same time, the legislation would protect “America’s unparalleled medical science ecosystem” to ensure the development of “new cures and treatments for some of the toughest and rarest chronic diseases.”

Peters, whose district includes San Diego’s major biotech cluster, earlier warned that price controls would dry up investment in drug development, citing the impact of regulations on medical innovation in Europe.

At issue is language in Democrats’ $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package of social investments that would allow the Health and Human Services secretary to negotiate lower drug prices and cap prices based on what is paid in other wealthy countries. 

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.