Richard Bagger


December 19, 2019


When evaluating policy options, U.S. policymakers would be wise to look for best practices to consider – or, perhaps more importantly, worst practices to avoid – from around the world. So, as some in Congress seek to import price controls and other harmful policies commonplace in countries with inferior consumer access to innovative products and services, it’s worth considering the consequences such policies would have on the innovation ecosystem that has long set the U.S. apart from other developed economies around the world. Fortunately, we now have a tool to make such research-backed evaluations.

Recently, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center launched the Innovation & Creativity Access Barometer to analyze consumer access to innovative and creative products as well as analyze the ability of inventors and creators to obtain a fair return on their investment in these high-risk ventures – both in the U.S. and in global markets. Examining the spectrum of economic and political factors that impact access to innovation, the report’s evaluation of access to innovation and creativity reveals the public policy factors that prevent many consumers around the world – from patients to moviegoers – from accessing the most advanced and highest quality offerings of today’s innovative sectors.

Consider the biopharmaceutical sector in Europe as a case study of what can go wrong when restrictive policies get in the way of innovation. Once leading the world in biopharmaceutical innovation, price controls introduced in Europe over the last several decades drove biopharmaceutical investment from Europe to the U.S., to our country’s considerable economic benefit. When it comes to prescription medications, limited access to innovation regrettably translates to fewer treatment options for patients today, and diminished investment in the research and development (R&D) needed to generate cures for tomorrow.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. is at the very top of the list of the Barometer for access to innovation and creativity — demonstrating the importance of America’s legacy of market-based pricing and reliable property rights for inventors and creators. These foundational principles allow America’s remarkable engine of ingenuity to be harnessed, tackling the challenges we face today in areas that range from climate to manufacturing and healthcare, while expanding consumer access to the products and services delivered by our creative and innovative sectors.

That’s why the U.S. Chamber kicked off its Value Ingenuity campaign: to tell the stories of innovation, its roots, and the policies that incentivize its success. Disrupting the underpinnings of this American innovation machine will have very negative implications for U.S. patients, consumers and workers.

As a research-backed analysis of both innovative and prohibitive policies in nations around the world, the Barometer is meant to serve as a tool for policymakers to ensure they develop the best possible solutions – and avoid proven pitfalls. The issue of rising healthcare costs, in particular, has understandably forced U.S. policymakers to look for solutions – but exclusively targeting innovation in healthcare is not the right approach. Policymakers would do well to consider the remarkable innovation ecosystem that has evolved in the U.S., enabling world leading biopharmaceutical, manufacturing, and creative sectors to flourish. It has created a virtuous cycle, with businesses reinvesting in R&D to drive sustainable innovation, which has been hugely beneficial for the U.S. economy and delivered improved outcomes and experiences for consumers.

Let’s not make the same mistakes other countries have made before. The Barometer points the way to economic growth and access to innovation. We should heed its advice.

About the authors

Richard Bagger