CHAIN

Blackstone Plants Its Flag in Boulder, Colorado, an Emerging Biotech Hub

Blackstone

Blackstone Plants Its Flag in Boulder, Colorado, an Emerging Biotech Hub

Blackstone

A unit of real-estate company Blackstone Inc. is acquiring a sprawling life-sciences and office campus in Boulder, Colo., the latest sign that the city at the base of the Rocky Mountains is emerging as a hub for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

Blackstone’s BioMed Realty Trust Inc., a real-estate owner that focuses on life science and tech buildings, is paying more than $600 million for Flatiron Park, a 22-building complex. BioMed Realty plans to invest another $200 million in the property, in part toward converting traditional office space to labs targeted at new and existing Boulder life-sciences companies.

Chain 2022 Action Agenda

CHAIN 2022 ACTION AGENDA

In 2022, CHAIN (Colorado Health Advocacy & Information Network) will expand efforts and outreach for finding common ground on common sense health care solutions. Our key action items include:

SUPPORT HEALTHCARE CONSUMER RIGHTS

Unfair and uncompetitive practices limit patient care and drive-up healthcare costs. CHAIN will work to reform or curtail these and other strategies that some healthcare entities use for their benefit but not necessarily for patients: 

    • Stem the unchecked payment of ‘rebates’ by drug makers to PBMs and insurance companies in order to gain approval for drugs to be covered and distributed. Can Rebate Reform Help Consumers? – CHAIN (betterhealthcareco.org)
    • Oppose the growing misuse of prior authorization by health insurance providers to deny critically needed care.  
    • Push back on the proliferation of high deductible health plans and faltering of traditional health insurance to provide adequate coverage.    

https://www.pacificresearch.org/new-pri-series-to-show-how-flawed-u-s-health-insurance-system-inflates-costs-decreases-quality-and-reduces-health-outcomes/  

PROMOTE PRIVATE INNOVATION OVER GOVERMENT INTERVENTION

The Coronavirus vaccine and overall response proved indisputably that American innovation and technology leads the world.  Massive and ill-conceived takeovers of parts of the American healthcare system threaten that innovation.  CHAIN will fight to protect America’s scientific leadership and push back on the kinds of government overreach that threaten the very lifeblood of cures and treatments, including: 

    • Systemic healthcare takeover proposals such as single-payer insurance plans or drug-price control mechanisms;
    • Policies such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s HB 1 or the Medicare drug negotiation provisions in the Building a Better America Act that substitutes open competition for socialized health care policies;
    • Nationalized drug pricing programs – as in Canada, Britain and other countries – that compel biotech companies to sell at below market costs which dampens life-saving innovation and compromises patient access;
    • Push for alternative approaches like the Reduced Costs and Continued Cares Act (RCCCA) from moderate Congressional democrats, the sensible alternative to H.R. 3 that is designed to lower costs without trampling on American innovation.

FOSTER POLICY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY

Too often, well-intended health care policies end up health care travesties for the very people the policies are intended to help.  CHAIN will highlight the successes and failures in government healthcare initiatives and endeavor to spotlight practices already benefiting patients: 

    • Restore transparency and accountability to the $29b federal 340B drug program, designed to help underserved patients but now has veered off course into filling the coffers of healthcare providers. 
    • Facilitate conversations and awareness around practices such as value-based pricing, which bases the cost of prescription drugs on outcomes delivered.  
    • Highlight emerging practices such as Pfizer’s recently enacted pledge to refund patients if their new lung cancer drug does not perform as intended. 
    • Call “time out” on proposals to import drugs from Canada or other nations, a policy that has cost Coloradans $2m since passage in 2020 and wasted millions more in federal resources while producing nothing in the way of savings for consumers. 
    • Continue speaking out against Colorado’s Prescription Drug Affordability board (PDAB) — an unproven and costly policy that experts say will compromise access to life saving medicines.

HIGHLIGHT SCIENTIFIC & POLICY BREAKTHROUGHS

Coloradans can rightfully take pride in a burgeoning bioscience community that creates scientific breakthroughs in health care.  Here and across the country, world-leading American scientists work to bring cures and treatments for our most devastating diseases.  Simultaneously, policy experts continue to research ways to provide better health care with increasing cost of compromising access.  CHAIN joins other science and research-based organizations supporting these efforts to:  

Do we have a pulse on this? Rep Jodeh is in Aurora

Rep Iman Jodeh
Rep Iman Jodeh

“Our bill is essentially a consumer protection bill, making common-sense reforms that will bring integrity and fairness to our health care system and save Coloradans taking expensive medications up to $1,000 a year. 

First, this bill will immediately reduce out-of-pocket prescription costs for Coloradans and prevent insurance companies from pocketing the billions of dollars in prescription drug rebates meant to help Colorado patients pay for their medicine”

https://sentinelcolorado.com/1gridoped/rep-iman-jodeh-our-plan-to-make-health-care-dependable-and-affordable

Supporting Long Overdue Colorado Healthcare Consumer Rights

Supporting Long Overdue Colorado Healthcare Consumer Rights

The year 2022 promises exciting and substantive opportunities to bring better health care to Coloradans.  Maybe the most important of these is the discussion around a Colorado Consumer Health Bill of Rights.  Similar initiatives have sprung up in other states, indicative of the need to put consumers front and center in the health care debate.  It is long past time that consumer needs take precedence over the financial interests of health care corporations.  We expect more to come very soon on this critical effort. 

Kavita V. Nair

Kavita V. Nair

LET PATIENTS BENEFIT FROM PRESCRIPTION DRUG REFORM

“Coloradans continue to struggle to pay for their prescription medications. The largest yearly survey of Colorado households conducted by the Colorado Health Institute found that one in five Coloradans skipped health-care services due to cost concerns in 2021. Of the almost 10% of Coloradans who didn’t fill a prescription due to cost, 40% said their health declined.”

Read the full op-ed at: https://www.coloradopolitics.com/opinion/let-patients-benefit-from-prescription-drug-reform/article_36587002-c1e0-11ec-b2b8-579165e42efe.html

Rep Iman Jodeh

St. Rep. Iman Jodeh (D-Arapahoe)

LOWER OUT OF POCKET COSTS AND FIGHT BACK AGAINST COST SHIFTING

“Our bill is essentially a consumer protection bill, making common-sense reforms that will bring integrity and fairness to our health care system and save Coloradans taking expensive medications up to $1,000 a year. 

First, this bill will immediately reduce out-of-pocket prescription costs for Coloradans and prevent insurance companies from pocketing the billions of dollars in prescription drug rebates meant to help Colorado patients pay for their medicine”

https://sentinelcolorado.com/1gridoped/rep-iman-jodeh-our-plan-to-make-health-care-dependable-and-affordable

EMPOWER CONSUMERS AND LESSEN THE STRANGLEHOLD OF INSTITUTIONAL INTERESTS

Too little is being done in Colorado and across the country to put more power in the hands of consumers. Out of pocket costs and ‘skimpy coverage plans’ rob from consumers and oftentimes fail to deliver on the care people need.

The one positive piece of news from the challenges of the global pandemic is the transformative migration to digital health care. Practically overnight, consumers and providers discovered that many aspects of care can be delivered in totally different ways.

We need to take this disruption and convert it into a complete rethinking of how healthcare is provided that centers on the consumer, not the monied institutions that for too long have controlled healthcare policies.

LOWER OUT OF POCKET COSTS AND FIGHT BACK AGAINST COST SHIFTING

According to a new poll, Americans would like to see Congress focus more on reducing the overall costs of health care coverage such as premiums, deductibles, and copays (71%) over reducing the costs of prescription drugs (29%). This extends across party lines; 73% of Democrats and 64% of Republicans would like to see Congress focus on reducing overall costs of coverage.

And it’s no wonder. According to various sources, total out of pocket costs for families in 2018 exceeded $7,500 per year. We all have to be wondering what the point of insurance is if we have to pay upwards of $8,000 before any coverage kicks in.

There are scores of ideas available for Colorado lawmakers to consider that don’t involve draconian measures like setting prices or capping revenues. CHAIN will continue fighting for ways to directly lower out-of-pocket expenses and clamp down on the kneejerk response of shifting costs to consumers by providers whenever changes in the market occur.

Ensure Federal Drug Program Serves Patients, Not Profits

ENSURING FEDERAL DRUG PROGRAM SERVES PATIENTS, NOT PROFITS

Sprawling government health care programs can mean billions are wasted or misappopriated.  The 340-B program, a $29b effort to lower the cost of prescription drugs for those most in need, is a classic case.  The program has morphed into a source of profits for hospitals and other providers, taking billions in benefits away from low income and underserved families in need.  CHAIN is working toward restoring integrity to the 340-B program, and calling out similar government initiatives that have gone off course.  

HOW INTENT MORPHS INTO ABUSE

The 340B program is a classic case of good government intent can morph into abuse, and why we should exercise extreme caution with further government intervention.

According to the Pacific Research Institute:

By attempting to help vulnerable patient populations in such an overly complicated manner, the 340B program creates inefficiencies throughout the broader healthcare system… These include vulnerable patients not receiving any of the price savings, the abuse of the 340B program by covered entities, increased incentives to prescribe more expensive medicines, a shifting of drug costs on to non 340B patients, and an unwarr-anted consolidation of medical practices. Due to these inefficiencies, the 340B program worsens the quality of the overall health care system.

Instead of drug discounts flowing to those families most in need, the PRI report demonstrates how millions of dollars are likely flowing to the coffers of hospitals and other providers.

Comprehensive Regulatory Reform From The Bottom Up: The Case Of 340B

PUSH FOR GOVERNMENT AND INSTITUTIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY

A report by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) layout out the path for greater accountability.  The GAO found major gaps in the administration of the program and lax accounting/reporting standards.  They conclude their work with six strong recommendations for reforming how the 340B program operates, including audits that verify the proceeds from discounted drugs are being used to lower the cost to consumers in need.

https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-20-108 

SUPPORT COMMUNITY MEMBERS WHO ARE TAKING ACTION

CHAIN fully supports Coloradans engaged in demanding greater accountability and transparency in the 340B program.  We urge everyone to look at 340B as the cautionary tale for why creating massive government programs to address health care inequities should be among the last strategies used.

Colorado’s Prescription Drug Importation Program Is Not a Solution

Colorado's prescription drug importation program is not a solution

Three years ago, Governor Polis and the state legislature touted passage of Colorado’s prescription drug importation bill.

Three years later, nothing.

    • No system for importing drugs from Canada and other nations.
    • Canada and other nations have said no to exporting drugs to Colorado.
    • Over $2 million in state tax dollars spent without achieving drug importation.

Drug importation – from Canada or any other country – is not a solution to the rising cost of prescription drugs in the U.S. 

Importing drugs into America from foreign sources adds up to a terrible practice.  

    • The federal government must issue a waiver for any state to implement importation, a process denied and stalled for decades and not likely to happen any time soon.
    • Four former Commissioners of the Food and Drug Administration (of both parties) vocally oppose importation because of safety and quality concerns.
    • Canadian authorities state repeatedly they will not allow the exporting of Canadian prescription drugs because of dire shortages in their own country.
    • Importing drugs from other countries could put millions of Americans at risk of serious harm or even death because of lax regulations and black-market operators.

We can and MUST do better.  CHAIN is busy educating law makers on why we need better solutions.