Government

The truth, the whole truth. Universal healthcare, prescription drugs and then …

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/

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3 replies »

  1. I have some suggestions to lower drug costs:1) limit lawsuits, 2) ban advertising, 3) the government should own the patients for certain public health drugs or vaccines.

    If the FDA approves a drug then that drug is safe and a company should not be liable 20 years later. Of course this would require the FDA to do a better job and the companies to spend more on R&D. My point is it seems like everyday there is a TV lawyer begging you to sue if you took this or that drug. The real winners is the lawyers not the patients.

    And why are drug companies direct marketing to me? I shouldn’t be talking to my doctor about what drugs I think I need. The reason I go to a doctor is for him to tell me what I need. Banning advertising out right might be against the 1st Amendment but Medicare could deduct from all payments made for a certain drug equal to the amount spent on ads. Boy would that cause a change in behavior.

    I know the government only gives a small fraction of research money for R&D for certain diseases, but as a condition of that money they could demand the ownership of the resulting patents just like colleges do now. Drugs and vaccines for communicable diseases should be considered as necessary for public health safety and should be owned by the government.

    I fully realize that there are major issues with all my suggestions and they may not save any real dollars, but what if you could save money on your next prescription because you didn’t have to sit through another Inflammatory bowel disease commercial?

    Like

  2. We need a “public option” in our healthcare system so people can “buy in” to the Medicaid program. Medicaid is a GREAT program that gives people great coverage, which is something all americans deserve

    Liked by 1 person

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