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Opinion Drug companies are warning that pricing reform spells doom. Don’t fall for it.

Democrats are on the verge of passing legislation that would allow Medicare to negotiate prices for Medicare drugs. Avik Roy, Gregg Girvan: Not all drugmaker revenues are created equal, and not all pharmaceutical research and development spending leads to equally innovative outcomes. They say the largest drug companies are only one-fifth as efficient as the overall industry in R&D. Roy, Girvan and others: Reducing big-pharma spending likely wouldn’t have a large effect on drug development. It’s not surprising that big companies are less innovative than their smaller, smaller biotechs, they say, because the brightest and most creative drug developers prefer to work at start-ups.

The bill requires Medicare to focus its negotiations on drugs whose monopolies have lasted 12 years or longer. It exempts “orphan drugs” treating rare diseases; drugs that cost the Medicare program less than $200 million per year. The bill’s deficit reduction potential has been undermined by about $400 billion over a decade in new energy subsidies, and more than $300 billion in federal loan guarantees that may never be