Drug Costs

The Weekly Dose | 11.08.19

November 8, 2019 3:58 pm

In blog post released this week, the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) said, “While the media continues to claim prescription drug prices are rising,” a recent CEA paper “shows the opposite. … [P]rescription drug prices are decreasing at rates not seen since the 1960s.” Since January 2017, prices have seen year-over-year declines in nine of the last 10 months, with a 1.1 percent drop as of the most recent month.


The CEA is right about the slow growth in drug prices. But then why is the administration pushing policies, like the International Pricing Index, that would stifle innovation?


Want to know how international reference pricing would impact U.S. innovation, or have other questions, please email us. We look forward to working with you.



Patrick O’Connor – Executive Director

Rosemarie Calabro Tully – Communications Director





 - Another week, another U.S. medical breakthrough. After a decade of research, @Vertex’s novel #cysticfibrosis drug exemplifies how “U.S. drug investment and #innovation encouraged by market incentives are saving lives around the world.” More from @WSJ:https://on.wsj.com/2JWRyiW Click here to RT.


 - China’s new #Alzheimers drug seems groundbreaking, but it comes with many concerns. Check out the “red flags,” and see why #drugimportation isn't a viable #healthcare fix, via @ScienceTM: https://bit.ly/32kxddx Click here to RT.   


 - How is importing #drugs from #Canada a feasible policy solution when 4 in 10 Canadians already have difficulty getting their prescriptions filled? Read why more than 2/3 of Canadian respondents oppose U.S. #drugimportation here, at @angusreidorg: http://angusreid.org/cross-border-pharma/ Click here to RT.




Check out and share on Twitter our latest blog posts:


 - The Price of Failure. Researchers have been working more than 40 years to find a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. And, yet, they are still working. Without profit, but with hope. We discuss the costs of innovation, especially when the research hits a roadblock. Click here to read the full blog post.


 - A Conversation About QALY. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s discriminatory #QALY is gaining traction on Capitol Hill. While we've said it before, we'll say it again: the decision to save a life with medical #innovation is not one for a "little-known Boston nonprofit" to make. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.


 - IPI Comments Running 1000:1 Against. In the 14 countries CMS has proposed using in its IPI model, patients have access to just 48 percent of the new drugs developed in the past eight years and it took these countries 16 months longer to get the medicines once they reach market. Click here to read the full blog post. Share on Twitter here.




 - Canadian Official: Drug Importation Won’t Lower U.S. Drug Prices. According to Reuters, “Canada does not have a large enough supply of prescription drugs to meet U.S. demand, and importing medicines from Canada would not significantly lower U.S. prices, Ottawa’s acting ambassador told U.S. officials in recent meetings, according to a statement. … Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s acting ambassador to the United States, said … ‘Not only are we too small of a market, Canada cannot increase its domestic pharmaceutical drug supply to meet U.S. demand. … Canada remains dedicated to working with the U.S. to improve our citizens’ health and well-being, recognizing that Canada’s priority is to ensure a steady and solid supply of medications at affordable prices for Canadians.’”


 - A Look At Sen. Warren’s Drug Pricing Plan. The Wall Street Journal editorial board critiques Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s health-care plan, noting Sen. Warren would “impose foreign price controls on U.S. drug makers, which is why patients in France and the U.K. have access to only about half of new medicines that are available in the U.S. Manufacturers that don’t agree to Ms. Warren’s price negotiation would get whacked with a hefty excise tax on their profits. She also threatens to confiscate their patents.”


 - What Would The Pelosi Bill Mean For U.S. Employment? Steve Forbes explains, “While the pharmaceutical industry is a favorite target for certain politicians and activists, the fact is it is a key American industry – one that leads the world. Implementing the policies Pelosi proposes would mean directly compromising the more than 800,000 high-paying jobs the pharmaceutical industry creates and jeopardizing an additional 3.2 million more jobs created in support of the pharmaceutical industry.” David Taylor, president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, says, “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently introduced a healthcare “reform” plan that would devastate one of Pennsylvania’s most innovative and highest-value manufacturing sectors: biotechnology.”


 - Competition For Cancer Drug. Reuters reported this week that Novartis “won U.S. approval for its long-delayed version of Amgen’s $4 billion seller Neulasta drug, helping the Swiss drugmaker in its uphill battle to sell copies of rivals’ blockbusters in the world’s top drug market. Novartis’s biosimilar, called Ziextenzo, is aimed at helping cancer patients boost infection-fighting white blood cells during chemotherapy.”




At RealClearMarkets, Patrick Hedger, director of policy for FreedomWorks Regulatory Action Center, noted life-saving drugs often save patients from having to undergo other, more costly treatments:


“While Americans may face higher prices for prescription drugs, the rest of the world faces grim costs, such as the lack of new, lifesaving treatments. Further, the price of new drugs only available in the U.S. may seem exorbitant in some cases, but these drugs can save many times their total cost if they avert costly long-term treatments and surgeries. What’s the real cost of a $1,000 pill that prevents a $10,000 surgery?”


The Wall Street Journal editorial board offered advice for lawmakers considering legislation to address pharmaceutical prices:


“U.S. drug investment and innovation encouraged by market incentives are saving lives around the world, and the prospects are even more promising as biotech discoveries multiply. The rule for politicians, as for doctors, should be, first, do no harm.”


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