Perspectives: Until Patient Advocates Get On Board, Lowering Drug Prices Is A Tough Sell
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
Why Are Patient Groups Silent On High Drug Prices?
Hill staffers know the drill. Every time legislation to limit drug prices begins to move, patient advocacy groups visit their offices, accompanied by sick and dying patients flown in for the occasion. Their mission: to stop any law they fear will decrease spending on drug research. Take, for example, the response from patient groups to a Trump administration effort in 2018. Borrowing from what left-of-center groups have advocated for years, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed pegging prices for some drugs to the far lower prices paid abroad. (Merrill Goozner, 4/1)
How To Make A Faster Coronavirus Vaccine
Making vaccines is difficult and expensive in the best of times. It usually takes years to bring a candidate to market. On top of the scientific difficulty, vaccines must clear an exceptionally high safety bar: Unlike just about any other treatment, they're given to otherwise healthy people in large quantities. Any significant side effects can have disastrous consequences, and long and careful testing is required to avoid harm. By one estimate, getting a single epidemic infectious disease vaccine from the preclinical stage to large-scale testing costs between $319 million and $469 million. These costs and risks are elevated further in a pandemic, because there’s no time for the usual lengthy and cautious process. (Max Nisen, 4/10)
The New York Times:
The Coronavirus Has Laid Bare The Inequality Of America's Health Care
In March, Congress passed a coronavirus bill including $3.1 billion to develop and produce drugs and vaccines. The bipartisan consensus was unusual. Less unusual was the successful lobbying by pharmaceutical companies to weaken or kill provisions that addressed affordability — measures that could be used to control prices or invalidate patents for any new drugs. The notion of price control is anathema to health care companies. It threatens their basic business model, in which the government grants them approvals and patents, pays whatever they ask, and works hand in hand with them as they deliver the worst health outcomes at the highest costs in the rich world. (Anne Case and Angus Deaton, 4/14)
The Tension Between Public Health And Patents In The Covid-19 Era
The Covid-19 pandemic, devastating as it is, is producing some triumphs of collaborative research and innovation, as everyone from the World Health Organization to national laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, and Facebook groups of engineers race to fight the virus. But lurking behind this remarkable work is a threat: Some individuals or companies may exploit patents to profiteer off the crisis and could slow these innovative efforts to a crawl. (Christopher Morten and Charles Duan, 4/14)
On Drug Pricing, Sen. Cramer's Choice Is Clear
Senator Kevin Cramer has been a consistent voice for principled conservatism since North Dakota sent him Washington. His support for free enterprise and his efforts to limit government overreach have served us well. So it is disheartening to hear about his apparent interest in a big-government drug-pricing bill sponsored by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, especially since a smart, conservative alternative from Idaho Republican Mike Crapo is also working its way through Congress. (Bette Grande, 4/10)