The long-term patient impacts of diseases such as diabetes tend to be underestimated in the U.S. Diabetes is largely looked at as a “manageable” and inconvenient disease, but in addition to constant blood sugar monitoring, daily “pricks” and shots, diabetics also have vastly shortened life expectancies. For example, on average, the life expectancy of American males with Type 1 diabetes is only 66 years, a full 11 years shy of the national average.
The lack of urgency around the need to not just manage diabetes but also ultimately cure the disease is personal. Members of my family have had diabetes, and I frequently worry about my own health. I know that if I were to develop the disease, I would likely have to rely on insulin and glucose monitors for the rest of my life like so many other members of my family before me. That is why I am calling on our Missouri representatives to prioritize medical discoveries and vote against policies that would allow the government to set the prices of medicines via Medicare negotiations.
Just like in countries with socialized health care systems, allowing the U.S. government to set the prices of medications will stifle private investment in pharmaceuticals and directly lead to fewer new cures and treatments.
Most do not realize the hard numbers associated with new drug discovery, but they are staggering. It has been estimated that producing a single new cure or medication costs upwards of $1 billion and takes more than 10 years to come to market. This is why a recent estimate by the independent and nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) revealed that government price-setting could result in 60 fewer new medications making to market over the next three decades. What if one of those 60 medications was a cure for diabetes or cancer?
The COVID-19 pandemic has already given us clear evidence that when Congress properly supports pharmaceutical innovation, medical miracles can happen. Given that it is estimated that we have more than 10,000 diseases in existence and only cures and treatments for 500 of them, we cannot afford to leave any new innovations behind in the name of price setting.
Linda Ragsdale is an accountant, businesswoman, and caregiver from St. Charles.