State Policies to Address Prescription Drug Prices – Center for American Progress

With a service like health care where it must be rendered regardless of circumstance, any effort to contain costs must be implemented on a uniform system-wide basis or costs are simply shifted elsewhere. This includes among third-party payers and direct payers, among the states and even among countries. Prescription drugs, while not alone, are especially susceptible to this shifting.

Source: State Policies to Address Prescription Drug Prices – Center for American Progress

If we want to control drug costs we need to better educate patients and doctors on prescription use, stop direct to patient advertising and view the drug industry as a national utility providing a vital service. This means a utility board would control research and development investment and profit targets similar to what is done for electric and gas utilities.

Are their consequences for such action, some negative? You bet your bippy there are, but that’s true of any efforts to control health care and anyone who tells you that we can control costs and at the same time maintain business as usual which many (most) Americans like and expect, doesn’t know what they are talking about.

The piecemeal efforts as described in the linked article are nothing to cheer about, they are counterproductive.


  1. Government control of the entire pharmaceutical industry is a novel idea, and a spectacularly bad one. In fact so bad Q, that I’m not convinced someone has not hacked your blog. But then I notice that the source of the article is the Center for American Progress. So I conclude that your entry is intended to be provocative, as would an extended quote of Bernie Sanders.

    Electricity and natural gas are regulated utilities because the service provided cannot practically be competitive for the individual customer.

    But prescription drugs? Unelected bureaucrats deciding pricing and profits will lead to an industry that abandons the U.S. for research and development. U.S. consumers will be left with Government priced drugs while Europe and Japan will enjoy the availability of the best and newest drugs. As you know, currently the vast majority of generic drugs are manufactured in either China or India. With government control of new brand name drugs, they will be shifted overseas as well.


    1. That’s what they do in other countries and we subsidize their R&D and prices. It appears competition, even the long patient period, does not hold prices. But my main point was whatever we are going to do, it won’t work on a state by state basis.


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