Why Republicans will stumble on drug pricing policy

Get 'em while they're cheap!
Get ’em while they’re cheap!

Prescription drug pricing has quickly risen toward the top of the list of voter concerns. Democrats running for President have been talking about it for a long while, but now Republicans feel they need to have something to say. (See GOP hopefuls, long quiet on drug prices, begin to make some noise.)

I predict the GOP candidates will mainly fail to come up with compelling approaches. Why?

The article includes certain wise things Republicans are saying on healthcare policy. But I want to point out that these won’t do anything to control drug prices:

  • Expand public/private partnerships for drug development. (They would do well to look to the Forum for Collaborative HIV Research as an incredibly effective and efficient model that started in HIV but has since expanded to liver disease)
  • Provide more funding for the NIH. We really need this if we are to stay ahead in the global competition for highly-educated talent. Yes, this policy would be even more effective if coupled with immigration reforms to enable graduates of US universities to stay after obtaining their degrees

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.


2 thoughts on “Why Republicans will stumble on drug pricing policy”

  1. Good ideas to control drug cost do exist. However, those ideas seem to be overwhelmed by the $178,000,000 spent so far in 2015 by pharmaceutical companies on lobbying against any change. Although the VA is not the poster child for good management they do cover 20 million people and very effectively negotiate drug prices, something Medicare could use but is prohibited by statute. Such negotiations by Medicare might save about $500 / Medicare enrollee each year. Another idea is for the US government to negotiate for generic drugs for the entire US like other countries do — the cost savings are huge since we use so many generics in the US.

  2. I read a story the other day about a hedgefund guy who bought a pharmaceutical company and then raised the price of a drug from a dollar a pill to like 75 dollars a pill. It’s things like this that make the pharmaceutical industry so corrupt.

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