No “March in Authority” for expensive prostate drug

Patient advocates on Tuesday blasted the Biden administration’s refusal to compel the manufacturer of a lifesaving prostate cancer drug developed entirely with public funds to lower its nearly $190,000 annual price tag. The drug’s development was 100% taxpayer-funded. Yet a one-year supply of Xtandi currently costs $189,800 in the United States.

HHS’ National Institutes of Health (NIH) said Tuesday that it “does not believe that use of the march-in authority would be an effective means of lowering the drug’s price.”

March-in authority is a powerful tool designed to ensure that the benefits of the American taxpayers’ investment in research and development are reasonably accessible to the public.

U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement that he is “extremely disappointed that the Biden administration denied a petition by prostate cancer patients to substantially reduce the price of Xtandi.”

Today’s decision is a blow to prostate cancer patients, their families, and taxpayers. Developed with U.S. taxpayer research dollars, Xtandi costs American patients $180,000 a year—as much as six times as much as patients in other countries. This excessive price gouging cost taxpayers $2 billion to cover Medicare beneficiaries’ treatment in 2020 alone. The Biden administration has missed yet another opportunity to do something meaningful to lower prescription drug costs and protect taxpayer investments.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas)

This means that Pfizer has chosen to “stick it” to prostate cancer patients because they want more profit. To think that taxpayers’ dollars were used to develop a cancer drug and then that drug costs six figures should outrage voters. President Biden, I’m very disappointed in you.