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Pharma’s Last Stand

posted by Alicia Caramenico

on September 16, 2015

When certain drugmakers have nothing to say about the growing prescription drug cost crisis and no solutions to point to, they cry “price controls.”  This is a master bait and switch.

Price controls are the absolute wrong way to address the soaring cost of prescription drugs. In fact, price controls would make the cost challenges for patients and the health system even worse. That’s why health plans, along with many others, continue to oppose these provisions.

Ironically, the only ones supporting price controls are within the pharmaceutical industry. In states across the country, these drug companies are backing legislation that would force insurers to cap co-payments on prescription drugs. So in typical form, rather than addressing the underlying price of medications and treatments, this group of drugmakers is looking to hide their record-breaking costs behind insurance. These proposals will only drive up coverage and out-of-pocket costs for patients.

The latest diversion by these drugmakers is just another in a long line of red herrings. For years, the pharmaceutical industry has had a pretty simple strategy for discussing the prices it charges for its drugs: Don’t. But with each new treatment carrying six-figure price tags, shouldn’t these drug companies be upfront and transparent about why we’re paying so much for their products? Shifting blame may have worked in the past, but when public health and access to vital medicines continue to be threatened by these increasingly outrageous prices, it just won’t cut it.

The country cannot afford to walk around the problem of over-the-top drug pricing. Instead of trying to divert attention to dead-end proposals, like price controls, these drugmakers should be looking for a better way to solve the problem for patients.