Rejecting ICER’s bad advice

We should never accept this false choice between sustainable health care costs and fewer new medicines.

Priscilla VanderVeerSeptember 9, 2022
Rejecting ICERs bad advice

Rejecting ICER’s bad advice.

America leads the world in biomedical innovation today because our system rewards investment in research and discovery of new treatments. Now, with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, Dr. Steven Pearson, president of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), coolly admits we will see fewer new cures and treatments and suggests that trade-off is one we need to make.

Not satisfied with the loss of some treatments under a law that allows the government to set prices for older medicines, in an op-ed published by STAT, Dr. Pearson wants us to go even further by allowing the government to set prices for new, innovative medicines too.

This notion that we need fewer medicines to control health care spending is dangerous and costly for patients. New treatments save lives, and they help save money by keeping patients healthy and out of the hospital. Without cures for hepatitis C, we’d still be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars providing liver transplants to patients who could still sadly die from the disease.

The dirty secret is that Dr. Pearson wants to be the one who decides how much a treatment is worth and whether patients should have access to it. In fact, Inside Health Policy recently reported that Mr. Pearson may add more staff at his organization to help the government set drug prices under the new law. He’s simply waiting for the green light from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to get started.

We should never accept this false choice between sustainable health care costs and fewer new medicines. The damage that will result from a new, partisan law imposing price controls on medicines is already too great. We shouldn’t follow Dr. Pearson’s advice and make it worse.

To learn about patient-centered solutions to lower patients’ drug costs, visit

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