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.
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.