Perspectives: Why Is The Drug Pricing Debate So Fraught Despite Popularity?
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
San Francisco Chronicle:
You're Paying Too Much For Prescription Drugs. Biden's Bill Will Lower Costs - Unless Lobbyists Prevent It
It doesn’t have to be this way. Most other countries have successfully implemented price controls. President Biden’s reconciliation bill, currently in Congress, proposes some control — allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with manufacturers. These negotiations would lower prescription drug costs for 48 million Americans on Medicare. The bill would also stipulate that this lower price would be available to those with private plans. The Congressional Budget Office estimates this could reduce federal spending by $456 billion and increase revenues by $45 billion over 10 years. (Tom Handley, 11/10)
Kaiser Health News:
People Want Lower Drug Prices. Why Are Democrats Settling For Less?
Democrats and Republicans are crystal clear in polls that they want government to be allowed to negotiate down high drug prices. Americans pay nearly three times as much for drugs as patients in dozens of other countries. In the past two years, numerous Democratic candidates — including President Biden — have campaigned on enacting such legislation. (Elisabeth Rosenthal, 11/16)
Addressing The Trade-Off Between Lower Drug Prices And Incentives For Pharmaceutical Innovation
The fundamental dilemma in prescription drug policy is often understood to be the tradeoff between establishing incentives for innovation that produces new cures through high product prices and the fact that high prices can and do strain the ability of consumers and taxpayers to afford the high prices to support that innovation. This is also the tradeoff posed by the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) recent cost estimate of one of the leading proposals to control drug pricing, H.R.3. That bill proposes new negotiation authority be extended to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish drug prices and imposes limits on drug price inflation. The implementation of these policies is estimated to save the public sector almost half a trillion dollars a decade – yet at the same time declining pharmaceutical industry revenues are estimated to result in 30 fewer drugs over multiple decades. Thus, the dilemma facing policymakers is perceived to be that controlling drug prices now necessarily means fewer new drugs tomorrow. The trade-off between prices and innovation need not be this stark and, in fact, is likely avoidable. (Rena Conti, Richard G. Frank, and Jonathan Gruber, 11/15)