Perspectives: Yes, Curbing Costs Will Mean Fewer Drugs Will Come To Market. But It’s Worth The Trade-Off.
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
The New York Times:
The American Way Of Paying For Drugs Isn’t Working
A bill now making its way through the House could finally provide relief from the sky-high drug prices that have become a hallmark of the American health care industry. But to get there, Americans will need to accept a trade-off that other advanced nations have long since come around to: Slightly fewer new drugs will come to market, in exchange for better prices on the medications that already exist. The Lower Drug Costs Now Act, spearheaded by the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, could save $345 billion in federal spending over seven years, the Congressional Budget Office has found. (11/2)
The Wall Street Journal:
Sometimes Drug Prices Are Too Low
When Americans talk about drug prices, the conversation is dominated by the eye-popping sticker prices of certain new drugs. We’re all aware of how sky-high prices can make it hard for some patients to afford the drugs they need. Yet few appreciate how patients also lose access to treatments when prices are too low. The federal government’s attempts to keep prices low have created a chain of unintended consequences. Start with the “best price” law of 1990, which mandated that manufacturers offer drugs to state Medicaid programs at the lowest price available to any other buyer. (David R. Henderson and Charles L. Hooper, 10/31)
Nancy Pelosi Plays A Dangerous Game With Her Drug-Pricing Proposal
Presidential campaigns reveal important truths about political parties. It’s easy to pass off candidates’ debate comments and stump speeches as mere political rhetoric. But leading Democrats’ support for nationalized health care isn’t just theoretical. We’re already seeing Democrats’ radical approach in real legislative proposals, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s prescription drug legislation, H.R. 3. This proposal would accelerate the nationalization of health care, diminishing patients’ access to the treatments of today as well as the cures of tomorrow. (Chris Christie, 11/5)
Pelosi's Drug-Pricing Bill Calls Pharma's Bluff
Every time Congress tries to take on drug prices, it runs into the pharmaceutical lobby’s timeworn objection: Lowering prices even a penny would end all drug innovation, allowing cures to slip through our fingers and dimming the flickering hopes of desperate patients. This doomsday argument has worked for decades, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug-price negotiation legislation is putting it to the test. A Congressional Budget Office analysis finds that the lower prices envisioned by her bill would barely slow new drug discovery at all. (Peter B. Bach, 10/31)
Nancy Pelosi’s Un-Radical Drug-Pricing Plan
The drug-pricing bill that’s headed for House passage later this month will provide a modicum of relief for Medicare patients while saving taxpayers an estimated $345 billion over the next 10 years. Its core element gives the government a limited authority to negotiate drug prices. What it doesn’t do is allow Americans to import lower-priced drugs from other countries. It doesn’t give insurers selling Medicare Part D plans the power to set formularies or otherwise restrict access. It doesn’t give the government the right to seize patents if companies refuse to negotiate. (Merrill Goozner, 10/31)
Orlando Sentinel/Tampa Bay Tribune:
Passing House Bill Would Intensify Fight Against Higher Drug Prices
As people age, they need more prescription drugs to address chronic and age-related health issues at a time when their household income and resources are declining. This issue is especially critical in Florida, which leads the nation in aging seniors, with 20% of the population being 65 or older as of 2017. With no limit on out-of-pocket costs for Medicare drugs, millions of seniors are struggling, forced to make tough choices between paying for prescriptions or for basic needs like food and housing. (Benjamin and Lorraine Tuliano, 11/1)
The Emergence Of Laboratory Benefits Managers: PBM Dejà Vu?
Pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), the companies that administer prescription drug coverage for employers, municipalities, insurance companies, and the like, have taken heat for adding to the cost of drugs instead of controlling or lowering them. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has called PBMs “gnarled, confounding riddles.” An emerging parallel industry, laboratory benefits managers (LBMs), could be following in their footsteps. (Eli M. Chan, 11/5)
Should Drug Companies Be Able To Charge You $9K A Month For A Drug That Will Save Your Life?
The famous first sentence of Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina, “All happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” can be made relevant to modern times as “All health-insured families are alike; every family where an uninsured member requires an unaffordable prescription suffers in its own way.” (Jordan Belkin, 11/5)