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Fortune: Making Cancer Treatments Affordable Today Won’t Hurt Tomorrow’s Innovation

As congress begins to debate H.R.3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, the pharmaceutical drug industry is arguing that the bill, aimed at lowering drug prices for Medicare patients, will stifle innovation. In a recent op-ed piece penned by Rena Conti, Associate Professor of Markets, Public Policy, and Law, and her co-authors, Leslie Dach, Chair of Protect our Care, and Richard Frank, Margaret T. Morris Professor of Health Economics at Harvard Medical School, dispute this claim.

Rena Conti



May 12, 2021

Fortune recently published an opinion piece co-authored by Rena Conti, Associate Professor in the Department of Markets, Public Policy and Law. Rena tackled the topic of the high costs of cancer-treating drugs as well as legislation scheduled to be debated in Congress soon – the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices.

This legislation does not aim to undermine the ability of pharmaceutical companies to invest in innovation.

Rather, we expect these negotiations, if allowed to work over time, will create a virtuous circle and increase the availability of new drugs that offer significant health benefits to current and future patients.


The article covers the drug industry’s differing views on the Lower Drug Costs Now Act and breaks down the counterarguments that claim the passage of this bill will in fact increase the availability of innovative drugs that offer significant health benefits.

Rena M. Conti is an Associate Professor at the Boston University Questrom School of Business. From 2006 through June 2018, Professor Conti was an Associate Professor of Health Economics and Policy at the University of Chicago Medical School and the Harris School of Public Policy. She is a health economist and her research focuses on the organization, financing and regulation of medical care. She has written extensively on the pricing, demand and supply of prescription drugs.

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