Bill introduced by lawmakers to address the ‘small-molecule penalty’ in the Inflation Reduction Act

New Drug Pricing Bill Introduced in US House

New Drug Pricing Bill Introduced in US House

A Bipartisan Effort for Drug Pricing Reform

A digital collage of pills, a $5 bill, and the US House of Representatives.

Credit: Madeline Monroe/C&EN/Shutterstock

A group of lawmakers in the US House introduced a bill last week that aims to reform a major provision of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. The pharmaceutical industry and its supporters have been advocating for this change.

The EPIC Act: A Step Towards Change

The Ensuring Pathways to Innovative Cures Act, also known as the EPIC Act, was introduced on January 31st by Representatives Greg Murphy (R-NC), Don Davis (D-NC), and Brett Guthrie (R-KY). This bill proposes extending the timeline for Medicare to negotiate drug prices for small molecules from 9 years to 13 years after they enter the market, aligning it with the negotiation timeline for biologics.

Addressing the Small-Molecule Penalty

The proposed change aims to eliminate the perceived small-molecule penalty. Currently, the Inflation Reduction Act discourages the development of small molecules by imposing price controls earlier than for biologics. This penalty reduces the return on investment for small molecules. The EPIC Act seeks to rectify this issue.

According to Peter Rubin, executive director of No Patient Left Behind, the small-molecule penalty is a major concern. He expresses excitement and encouragement for the bipartisan bill that has been introduced.

Progress and Support for the EPIC Act

The EPIC Act has been in the works for some time, with hints of the legislation mentioned by John Stanford, executive director of the Incubate Coalition, during the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. The bill has received support from organizations such as Incubate, PhRMA, and BIO.

Richard Frank, director of the Brookings Institution’s Center on Health Policy, coauthored a report that indicated the IRA’s drug-pricing provisions did not significantly impact pharmaceutical acquisitions in the first year after the law’s passage. He believes there is insufficient evidence to suggest a significant problem.


The introduction of the EPIC Act marks a step towards drug pricing reform in the US. The bipartisan effort aims to address the small-molecule penalty and bring equity to small-molecule price negotiations. While there are differing opinions on the impact of the IRA’s provisions, the EPIC Act offers a potential solution to the concerns raised by the pharmaceutical industry.

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Read More of this Story at – 2024-02-05 21:31:14

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