From Innovation Oasis to Research Desert USCC


December 11, 2023


Clinical trials are the catalyst behind today’s medical breakthroughs and tomorrow’s cures. They serve as the proving ground for transforming scientific insights into effective therapies that benefit patients worldwide. 

Despite having only 5% of the global population, the United States is the powerhouse in medical innovation, driving 36% of the world's clinical trial research. However, this reputation is under threat by flawed decision-making in Washington, DC, threatening to transform America’s innovation oasis into a research desert.  

New data on how the federal government’s new price control powers–enacted and proposed–will lead to a decline in U.S. clinical trial activity. According to the U.S. Chamber’s From Innovation Oasis to Research Desert: The Impact of Price Controls on Clinical Research and Development, these actions mean dire consequences for patients and future health.

Price control impacts on U.S. medical research

  • 70% cut in battling the obesity epidemic: With over 40% of U.S. adults affected, obesity-related clinical trial research is facing a 70% cut. 
  • 12% drop in the fight against heart disease: A drop in cardiovascular research and development in the U.S., where heart disease is the number one killer of Americans each year, will impact many and risk tens of thousands of lives. 
  • 60% decline in pioneering cancer and biologics research: These cutting-edge treatments for complex diseases like cancer could experience a nearly 60% drop in early-phase studies. 
  • Up to 75% of research funds threatened: The private sector funds over 70% of U.S. clinical trials, yet price controls could drastically cut clinical trial research in some therapeutic areas by as much as 75%. 

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The IRA policy contagion   

Nations that combine smart public policy and free market competition excel in healthcare innovation. 

However, the U.S. deviated from this path with the Biden administration executing a series of policies – starting with price controls in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), recent calls to seize drug patents, and more proposals to expand price controls to the private sector – that will lead to dramatically fewer clinical trials and thus fewer medical discoveries.  

Simply put, bad policy and government overreach threaten free markets, leads to fewer cures, and will put everyone's health at risk. When tried in other developed nations, these policies slowed patient access to new treatments and hindered investment in medical research.  

Why U.S. leadership in clinical trials matter 

Earlier access for patients: As the world leader in life science research, American patients have faster access to the latest breakthrough treatments and therapies. 

Highest safety standards: U.S. clinical trials meet and often exceed global benchmark standards set by the FDA for developing safe and effective medicines. 

Cure engine: The current wave of clinical trial activity in the U.S. is unlocking novel ways to combat illness and accelerating the pace of medical breakthroughs. 

Public-private partnerships: Clinical trials are a platform where the expertise of leading research institutions and the resources of the private sector come together, leading to medical breakthroughs and enhanced patient care. 

Improving world health and hope: Patients worldwide benefit from U.S. clinical trial research through the development of innovative treatments that set new standards for care and improve health outcomes. 

Bottom line 

America’s patients need Congress to act swiftly and reverse the impacts of government price controls. These measures are already suppressing medical progress by reducing the drive to innovate and threatening access to new and improved medications for millions—particularly those battling severe and chronic conditions. 

Want to learn more? Download our report

About the Report: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center produced “From Innovation Oasis to Research Desert” in collaboration with Pugatch Consilum, renowned for its specialized policy analysis that provides evidence-based research, analysis, and intelligence on the fastest-growing sectors of the knowledge economy. The authors of this report are Meir Pugatch and David Torstensson.

From Innovation Oasis to Research Desert USCC