Negotiate drug prices … why not? Well …

As with most things, there is usually more to an issue than meets the eye. Bernie Sanders is obsessed with “greedy” drug companies and high drug prices. You may be upset as well even though chances are you are not paying the full cost, but rather a co-pay or coinsurance.

stickman_carrying_the_big_pill_lg_clrWe all know that in other countries prices are negotiated, but there is more to it that the Bernie Sanders of the world don’t mention; there is also a cost/benefit analysis. In other words patients in other countries don’t always have access to the drugs that Americans can use without restriction. In fact, these drugs are heavily marketed to Americans to increase utilization.

Americans want the latest and greatest and they want it now and they don’t want a government agency telling them there isn’t sufficient additional value for them to have it  – even when there may not be.

There is a price to pay for lower drug prices in America, part of that price is access and the other part  is the potential for slowing the pipeline for new drugs. Recent legislation attempts to unplug the FDA pipeline for new drugs, but that too comes with a price.

Bernie Sanders and those like him spew out simple sounding solutions to complex problems while ignoring the consequences and failing to give Americans the full story so they can make an informed decision. 

Let’s say your doctor appointment is happening in the United Kingdom. There, your Humira prescription will cost, on average, $1,362. If you’re seeing a doctor in Switzerland, the drug runs around $822.

But if you’re seeing a doctor in the United States, your Humira prescription will, on average, run you $2,669.

Humira is the exact same drug whether it’s sold in the United States, in Switzerland, or anywhere else. What’s different about Humira in the United States is the regulatory system we’ve set up around our pharmaceutical industry…

The United States is exceptional in that it does not regulate or negotiate the prices of new prescription drugs when they come onto market. Other countries will task a government agency to meet with pharmaceutical companies and haggle over an appropriate price. These agencies will typically make decisions about whether these new drugs represent any improvement over the old drugs — whether they’re even worth bringing onto the market in the first place. They’ll pore over reams of evidence about drugs’ risks and benefits…

Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee is not easy to impress: It has rejected about half of the anti-cancer drug applications it received in the past decade because their benefits didn’t seem worth the price.

Excerpt from Vox November 30, 2016 

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