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House Republicans’ Default on America Act is Anti-Drug Innovation and Would Harm Patients

By May 10, 2023No Comments

Washington, D.C. — Today, the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee is holding a hearing on “Examining Policies that Inhibit Innovation and Patient Access.” What House Republicans are not including in their hearing agenda is an examination of the anti-innovation “Default on America Act” they just passed. Their legislation risks health care for 21 million Americans, slashes care for veterans, and cuts vital health care funding by 22 percent. This translates to over $10 billion in annual funding cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which would drastically reduce funding for innovative cures. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement: 

“If Republicans want to talk about policies that actually stifle innovation, look no further than their Default on America Act. Republicans’ Default on America Act slashes NIH funding that we know leads to innovative new drug discoveries. At a time when families are struggling to get by and afford the medications they depend on, Republicans want to cut NIH funding by billions of dollars in order to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Not only do Republicans want to cut funding for the NIH, but they also want to slash funding for mental health and substance use treatment, veterans’ care, and more. They are also seeking to throw millions of people off of their Medicaid coverage, which will only make it harder for people to get the medications they need to stay healthy.” 


  • The “Default On America Act” would cut NIH funding by 22%, which is over $10 billion of NIH’s $47.5 billion FY 2023 Budget.  
  • Research shows that a 10% increase in NIH disease-specific research yields a 4.5% increase in new drugs, so a 22% cut can be expected to yield a 9.9% reduction in new products. This is a far more significant impact than the estimated 1% reduction in new drug approvals resulting from the prescription drug price negotiation program, which Republicans falsely claim is anti-innovation. 
  • NIH funding totaling $230 billion contributed to research associated with all 356 new drugs approved by the FDA from 2010 to 2019. Every $10 million in NIH funding yields 2.7 commercial sector patents, so the Republicans’ cuts would result in 2,700 fewer commercial patents, far more harmful to innovation than prescription drug negotiation. The stock market has valued new patents at about $11.2 million per patent, so this is an economic loss of over $30 billion.
  • Wall Street analysts estimate the Inflation Reduction Act will decrease Big Pharma’s revenue by $40 billion over the next 10 years, yet research shows Big Pharma could lose $1 trillion and still be the most profitable industry in the U.S.