LOOK AT THESE TWO REPORTS ON THE SAME STORY. The first talks about curbing drug prices and in the second the headline is relaxing patient protections with no mention of the inflation or drug innovation requirements in the proposals.
IRONICALLY, these types of measures are exactly what European universal health plans do to curb drug costs. They don’t cover some high cost drugs and they don’t cover new drugs that don’t demonstrate sufficient additional value.
This is exactly the type of thing that proponents of M4A must be honest about to Americans.
From Kaiser Health News
“Trump Administration Seeks To Expand Medicare’s Negotiating Power In Effort To Curb High Drug Prices
Currently, Medicare plans are required to cover all or “substantially all” drugs in six protected classes. As part of the Trump administration’s proposal, plans would be allowed to exclude protected drugs with price increases that are greater than inflation, as well as certain new drug formulations that are not a “significant innovation” over the original product.
The New York Times: Trump Moves To Lower Medicare Drug Costs By Relaxing Some Patient Protections
The Trump administration proposed on Monday to cut costs for Medicare by reducing the number of prescription drugs that must be made available to people with cancer, AIDS, depression, schizophrenia and certain other conditions. Under the proposal, health insurance plans that provide drug coverage to Medicare beneficiaries would no longer have to cover all of the drugs in six “protected classes.” The change would take effect in 2020 and would lead to lower out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries, the administration said. (Pear, 11/26)”
But there is much more to drug prices than simply mandating them to be lower. Consider the study summarized below. Simply put, R&D investment is directly related to prices companies can charge. At present, higher prices in the US help offset more closely regulated prices in the rest of the world.
At a minimum, future drug pricing policy should consider the possible implications on the development of new medication. And such policy should be fully explained to the American people.
“Summing up, the high R&D intensity of the pharmaceutical industry largely depends on the unregulated and profitable U.S. market, making many Americans complain about European “free riding” on U.S. R&D expenditures that are primarily borne by American patients.
As the mere amount of R&D expenditures is only an input factor within the innovation process future research should take a closer look at the impact of regulation on the efficiency of R&D expenditures. An increase of R&D investment makes economically only sense if it leads to more drugs that meet an unmet medical need and make a significant difference to the patient.” Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4502069/