Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act

The House recently passed H.R. 3 – the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act — and the Bill has been received by the Senate for consideration.

The basic proposal is to require the U.S. Gov’t to negotiate on Medicare drug prices for insulin and >25 of the top-125 drugs (by national spending). The negotiation includes a price cap:

The negotiated maximum price may not exceed (1) 120% of the average price in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom; or (2) if such information is not available, 85% of the U.S. average manufacturer price.

If the manufacturer fails to comply then there will be civil/tax penalties. So, the word “negotiation” should be placed within quotation marks. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that price negotiation prevision would lower government spending by about $500 billion over the next decade.

This particular proposal spends most of the money – by adding dental, vision, and hearing to Medicare.

Current law includes a “noninterference” clause associated with Medicare Part D:

Noninterference.—In order to promote competition under this part and in carrying out this part, the Secretary—

(1) may not interfere with the negotiations between drug manufacturers and pharmacies and PDP sponsors; and

(2) may not require a particular formulary or institute a price structure for the reimbursement of covered part D drugs.

42 U.S.C. 1395w-111(i).

Although not a “patent” bill, the proposal would significantly impact the market for patented drugs and biologics. What is unclear at this point is how research would shift. PhRMA estimates that the US Bio / Pharma industry spent about $100 billion on research in 2017.

This Bill is likely to be blocked by Republican leaders in the Senate, although many Republicans have offered some support for “interference” in principle.

 

50 thoughts on “Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act

  1. 7

    As per some studies the returns for Pharmaceutical R&D is already very low.

    “R&D returns have declined to 1.8 per cent ”

    as per this Deloitte study

    link to www2.deloitte.com

  2. 6

    Price controls will trigger massive consolidation in the industry (along with major layoffs). Mergers will accelerate and the massive new drug companies that result will have major leverage to negotiate with governments. Any penalty will be passed down to the consumer. If the goal is cheaper meds, then increase patent terms so that the recoupment of the investments can be spread over a larger period of time and eliminate phase 3 trials.

    1. 6.1

      Sorry Charlie,

      But all that I see in your tale of woes are items that need not come to pass (for a variety of other non-patent law reasons).

      Not sure how eliminating phase 3 trials does anyone any good either.

      Instead of extending patent term, we should be aiming to make the DEVELOPMENT process more open to innovation protection itself. Being more innovative to drive down the front end costs (instead of seeking ways to NOT innovate and lock those costs into the system) appears to be a much better win-win.

      Of course, one sure-fire way to put public pressure on wanting to innovate in this way is to put ALL of the profit mechanisms of the Pharma eco-system (including insurance and insurance kickbacks across the spectrum) into the sunlight. But even the “noble” generics do not want that…

  3. 5

    If anyone thinks this bill will get enacted over adverse lobbying contributions, look at what just happened in the Senate to the bill to reportedly restrict unlimited-charges surprise hospital bills from in-network hospitals from out-of-network doctors you may not have even known you were getting there? [Which bill had much stronger bi-partisan support than this one].

  4. 4

    Parliaments all around the world suppose that some sort of attention-grabbing headline money tweak will solve any problem. Often, there are ways much better than that, but they are too subtle and unspectacular for mere politicians to grasp. Let alone carrying any sway with Joe Public.

    How about a recognition of the usefulness of making all results of clinical trials available, not just the ones that the sponsor finds commercially advantage to release, and legislating to make it compulsory? The trial results that they are leary of releasing are those that show that one of their fancy (and expensive) evergreen patented products is not in fact bringing any extra benefit to patients. But they are the ones that can keep healthcare costs most in check. Side effect: the public becomes more knowledgeable, expects more, and lifts healthcare quality on all fronts. See Alltrials. Here a Link:

    link to en.wikipedia.org

  5. 3

    I’m British but live in Germany. These two countries have very different healthcare systems. Both have worked pretty well, up to now. Each has its “National Institute of Clinical Excellence” that distinguishes between i) new medication that is worth its asking price, and ii) that which is not.

    One thing is clear though: was has worked up to now is not going to work well from now on. But how to reform? All too difficult to contemplate.

    Consider also: the big drug companies find it unattractive to invest money in the search for antibiotics capable of winning against multi-resistant bacteria. They prefer to invent new life-long disease conditions for which life-long medication drip is the treatment. What do we do to stop multi-resistant bacteria wiping us all out?

  6. 2

    This Bill is a gamble. Socialist healthcare systems MUST ration medical care. To help stretch their resources, they cap drug prices. To make up for lost profits, drug companies substantially increase the price to US consumers and lobby the FDA to prevent importation of the same drugs from foreign countries. So, this bill will either force foreign countries to pay more, will stifle incentives to develop new drugs, and/or will cause drug prices to private insurance patients to increase even further along with insurance premiums. This is a gamble, and someone will pay, probably private insurance patients first then a reduction in research.

    1. 2.1

      Socialist healthcare systems… cap drug prices. To make up for lost profits, drug companies substantially increase the price to US consumers and lobby the FDA to prevent importation of the same drugs from foreign countries.

      This is nonsense on stilts. To believe that this is true, you have to imagine some CEO addressing the board of directors and saying “it is clear that we can charge $1000/unit in the U.S. and the customers will pay it, but I would much rather charge U.S. customers only $800/unit, and then raise prices by $200/unit in Europe, Canada, and Japan.” Why would anyone responsible for a bottom line think like this? How long would the shareholders let this (totally fictional) CEO remain in office?

      If U.S. consumers are willing to pay $1000/unit, then the company is going to charge U.S. consumers $1000/unit—quite regardless of what the Aussies, or Loonies, or Limies are paying. The idea that a for-profit company would lower U.S. prices if only it could squeeze a little more out of the ex-U.S. markets is willfully and childishly delusional.

      1. 2.1.1

        You totally missed the point and context. The bill “forces” US drug companies to raise drug prices for US government paid medicare. A CEO voluntarily deciding that he wants to give US consumers a break is not even contemplated. The point is that if US companies were “forced” by the bill to lower prices for medicare patients, then the drug companies have two choices: try and raise prices elsewhere, i.e. foreign prices or privately insured patients or cut spending.

        1. 2.1.1.1

          [I]f US companies were “forced” by the bill to lower prices for medicare patients, then the drug companies have two choices: try and raise prices elsewhere, i.e. foreign prices or privately insured patients or cut spending.

          That is really only one choice: cut spending. If it were possible for them to raise prices, then they should already be charging those higher prices, quite regardless of the bill.

          In other words, the bill has not yet passed. But even now, every publicly traded pharma company (which is all of the large ones) should rationally be setting its prices at the revenue maximizing rate. Even if the bill never passes, they should already be charging the price that will maximize profits. Nothing about the bill passing would change the willingness of insurance companies to pay more per unit for a given medication, so it should not be possible for the drug companies to raise prices in response to the bill’s passage (except to the extent that they could push the price past the point on the supply/demand curve where sales drop and profits go down).

          If it were possible to raise more revenue by raising prices in response to the bill’s passage, that would mean that the company is presently leaving money on the table. Why would the shareholders leave management in place who were willing to leave money on the table prior to the bill’s passage?

          1. 2.1.1.1.1

            Nothing about the bill passing would change the willingness of insurance companies to pay more per unit for a given medication…

            Nor would the bill’s passage offer any discernible incentive for Australia, or Canada, or Germany (etc) to raise their price caps. Nothing about the bill’s passage should make it economically possible (within the constraints of the laws of supply and demand) to raise prices anywhere. It is simply delusional to think that any of these companies are willlingly charging less than the market will bear right now.

          2. 2.1.1.1.2

            That’s probably true. I have spoken to doctors, and many lose money (literally, not just profit) caring for medicare patients. The doctors do it because they care, and they make up the difference from privately insured patients. Not sure the drug companies will feel the same way. Doubtful the socialist countries are going to increase their medical spending. Perhaps the drug companies and the government will find less expensive ways to develop drugs.

            1. 2.1.1.1.2.1

              Greg’s biggest fallacy is that Pharma already acts as if there is complete transparency throughout the system.

              There is not.

              UNTIL there is, nothing he advances as far as “rational acting” is even remotely realistic.

              I’ve been on the inside there – I cannot provide particulars, but it is beyond belief.

    2. 2.2

      This bill will either force foreign countries to pay more…

      Nope, this bill has no means to make that happen.

      … or will cause drug prices to private insurance patients to increase even further along with insurance premiums…

      Nope, once again, no means to make that happen.

      … [or] stifle incentives to develop new drugs… .

      Bingo, we have a winner!

      There is no such thing as a free lunch. There are both costs and benefits to the proposed statutory change. The benefit is lower prescription drug costs. The cost is fewer new drugs coming to market over a given time interval. Whether we as a society should value affordability over innovation or vice versa is a point on which reasonable minds can disagree.

      1. 2.2.1

        Incidentally, while it is almost a certainty that this bill (if enacted into law) would depress the pace of pharma innovations coming to market, the extent or degree of that depression is very much an empirical question. I would not be surprised if this statutory change were to slow the rate of new drugs coming to market only slightly, and I also would not be surprised if it were to slow the rate quite considerably. Anyone who purports to know how great would be the decrease is largely blowing smoke, because we really do not have enough data to model this question reliably.

        1. 2.2.1.1

          I also would not be surprised if it were to slow the rate quite considerably.

          I would be very surprised if that happened.

      2. 2.2.2

        The cost is fewer new drugs coming to market over a given time interval.

        Not necessarily. It’s a possibility, sure. But far from inevitable.

      3. 2.2.3

        Somehow you missed the “and/or” conjunction.

    3. 2.3

      Healthcare in this country is rationed.

      By health insurance companies.

      Run by people who you can’t vote outnof office.

      And who are motivated to make as much money as they can. One way to do that is to deny claims whenever possible.

      But we have the best healthcare in the world, right?

      1. 2.3.1

        And who are motivated to make as much money as they can. One way to do that is to deny claims whenever possible.

        I am reminded of two scenes in the movie “The Incredibles” about Bob helping out the little old lady, and the little boss man berating Bob.

      2. 2.3.2

        Right? Why not ask people with family, who have lived in more than one country. Like Americans posted to the UK or to Germany for some years and have then returned home.

        Their evidence will be anecdotal, of course, but nevertheless deserving of attention, at least by people who have not made their mind up already.

        1. 2.3.2.1

          A good friend of mine while a student in the UK had a very serious accident. So bad that he’s unable to work and is collecting disability here in the US. But he got life saving care while in the UK and wasn’t bankrupted.

          My point was Americans seem to think that having “government bureaucrats” deciding who does, and does not, get medical care would be the worst thing ever, akin to the end of times, but having “health insurance company bureaucrats” make those decisions is the greatest system in the world.

          The absolute worst is listening to Republikkklans blather on about the “need to let the free market decide” on health care. I’ve had private health insurance from my employers for the past 30+ years and I’m still looking for this utopian “free market” they keep talking about. If anybody finds it please let the rest of us know where to find it.

          1. 2.3.2.1.1

            I’ve had private health insurance from my employers for the past 30+ years and I’m still looking for this utopian “free market” they keep talking about.

            Same here. Over the course of my working life, I have worked a variety of jobs for a variety of employers, but one thing that has remained the same is that every year at open enrollment time, every employer has called us into a conference room to tell us that premiums are going up and choices going down. While the quality of my healthcare has not diminished over the years, the quality of the health insurance deteriorates palpably each year.

            Imagine that our health insurance were to be taken over by government control, but this change were not made public. Imagine that the quality of the insurance became worse—how would I know the difference? It gets worse each year under the “free market.”

            1. 2.3.2.1.1.1

              “the quality of the health insurance deteriorates palpably each year”

              And do you know why that is?

              Here’s a spoiler as to a part of that:

              link to theatlantic.com

          2. 2.3.2.1.2

            One anecdotal account deserves another. My brother-in-law’s grandparents were living in the UK when his grandmother started to feel ill. The doctor there examined her and prescribed some pain medication. My BIL’s grandfather, having worked in the health care industry, didn’t think the doctor was being completely forthcoming with his evaluation. So they headed back to the states, where his grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and was able to receive life-saving treatment.

            1. 2.3.2.1.2.1

              …multiple anecdotes are still not date (per Gregg).

              1. 2.3.2.1.2.1.1

                I disagree. Multiple anecdotes are still date.

              2. 2.3.2.1.2.1.2

                They are still so date you wouldn’t believe.

          3. 2.3.2.1.3

            “My point was Americans seem to think that having “government bureaucrats” deciding who does, and does not, get medical care would be the worst thing ever, akin to the end of times, but having “health insurance company bureaucrats” make those decisions is the greatest system in the world.”

            Back in reality the doctors are quite often the ones that are actually making the call in a lot of areas brosefulupogus. An enormous amount of doctoring is done “on the side” without compensatin. As to the big ticket items that don’t get done in such a manner, in America many many people simply don’t feel “entitled” to them in the first place, are happy to fund it through a mechanism that they think doesn’t involve the gubmit, and distrust and dislike the gubmit as a whole period. I have yet to hear anyone think that insurance is “the greatest”. I think you made that up.

            “The absolute worst is listening to Republikkklans blather on about the “need to let the free market decide” on health care. I’ve had private health insurance from my employers for the past 30+ years and I’m still looking for this utopian “free market” they keep talking about. ”

            It’s because it doesn’t much exist, thanks to state gubmits :( But you can shop around in most states, in VA there were at least 4 big providers, and depending on your locale sometimes more.

            1. 2.3.2.1.3.1

              “Back in reality the doctors are quite often the ones that are actually making the call in a lot of areas brosefulupogus. An enormous amount of doctoring is done ‘on the side’ without compensatin.”

              Whatever it is you’re smoking/drinking/snorting/inhaling/etc. must be powerful. Most doctors in this country are running a fee for service business model in their practice. They perform services and charge fees for those services. The more services they perform the more fees they charge. And collect. So when your doctor tells you “I want to run these five tests” you get charged for each one. In all likelihood you only need one or two of those tests. The other 3 or 4 are done for two reasons: 1) as a CYA for your doctor should you sue for malpractice; and 2) to run up the fees (the fact that the lab that does the tests is also owned by the doctor and his/her partners is just a bonus for your doctor). Of course if you question why the doctor “needs” to run so many tests, the answer you are most likely to get is, “Don’t worry about it, they’re covered by your insurance.” That’s one of the reasons why medical care is so expensive in this country. Nobody pays for it. We all pay for it. But your insurance company is going to make money no matter what. If we’re all paying for everybody else’s medical care anyway, why do we need to have a bunch of insurance companies making profits? How much medical care is any of us getting for the insurance companies’ profits? (Hint: I’m thinking of a big round number.)

              If you think doctors are doing an “enormous amount of doctoring on the side without compensatin” then you are seriously misinformed.

              “As to the big ticket items that don’t get done in such a manner, in America many many people simply don’t feel ‘entitled’ to them in the first place, are happy to fund it through a mechanism that they think doesn’t involve the gubmit, and distrust and dislike the gubmit as a whole period.”

              I hardly think anybody who wants medical care thinks they’re “entitled” to it. But so what if they do? If you get cancer that will kill you if untreated should your options be to go bankrupt trying to buy treatment or just accept it and die? My mother is a cancer survivor. Thank goodness for Medicare because without it she never could have afforded the treatment. Not even with insurance. So I’m more than happy to pay my taxes so that your mother, your father, your sibling, your spouse, your child can get the same treatment my mother got. Does that make them “entitled” to it? IDK. Who cares though? Stop worrying so much about what others may feel entitled to and ask yourself why, in the richest country in the history of the word, people often have to choose between dying from an otherwise curable affliction and going bankrupt getting treatment. Maybe concern yourself with whether the $2+T we’ve spent in Afghanistan over the past 18 years could have been better spent on medical care for our own people.

              Just a thought.

              BTW, I’ve yet to meet a single person who trusts their insurance company.

              1. 2.3.2.1.3.1.1

                BTW, I’ve yet to meet a single person who trusts their insurance company.

                Seconded.

              2. 2.3.2.1.3.1.2

                My call for transparency in the system definitely includes insurance companies.

              3. 2.3.2.1.3.1.3

                I think the “fee for service” model is right and this is in direct conflict with the presumption doctors are given that they are acting in the best interests of the patient.

          4. 2.3.2.1.4

            Great points AAA JJ.

            You forget to add that the cost of medical care in the USA keeps climbing and climbing.

            A minimum wage ($15/hour) would have to work 2,000 hours just to get medical insurance for a family of 4 for one year.

      3. 2.3.3

        “rationed”

        I loled.

        “Run by people who you can’t vote outnof office.”

        In most areas you can just go to their competitor. But state regulation of them insurance markets sure is a bummer.

        “But we have the best healthcare in the world, right?”

        Depends on how you define “best” and if you’re using a tiered system and other factors.

        1. 2.3.3.1

          “In most areas you can just go to their competitor.”

          Really? How do you do that?

          The company I work for uses ABC Insurance Co. They offer me three options from ABC Insurance Co. Option 1 is the Cadillac plan. Option 2 is the midrange plan. Option 3 is the high deductible, high out of pocket plan. Option 1’s premiums are high. Option 2’s are midrange. Option 3’s are low. I choose based on my personal family and financial situation.

          That’s it. I don’t get to go to my company and say, “Can I get a policy with XYZ Insurance Co. instead?”

          Well, I could. But the answer I would get is, “Sure. Go ahead. But we’re not paying for any of it. We have a deal with ABC Insurance Co.
          Pick option 1 or option 2 or option 3. Take it or leave it.”

          So am I supposed to forego the employer subsidized insurance from ABC and pay for my own policy with XYZ instead? Is that your suggestion? Have you ever priced individual health insurance policies?

          I suspect the vast majority of Americans are in the same position as me.

          1. 2.3.3.1.1

            “I hardly think anybody who wants medical care thinks they’re “entitled” to it. ”

            That’s literally the whole schtick behind medicare4all’s “movement” aka genuine socialist healthcare as had in other countries. Entitlement to medical care derp herp.

            That’s it. I don’t get to go to my company and say, “Can I get a policy with XYZ Insurance Co. instead?”

            Well, I could. But the answer I would get is, “Sure. Go ahead. But we’re not paying for any of it. We have a deal with ABC Insurance Co. Pick option 1 or option 2 or option 3. Take it or leave it.”

            Sounds like a problem with the company you work for, not the model. And further, it is a problem with state regulation, again. The reason they have a “deal” worked out is because of the various state regs, not “magic”.

            “I suspect the vast majority of Americans are in the same position as me.”

            They likely are. The states make a mess of things, and nobody has any clue as to how to get their state’s health insurance regulated properly. And the reason is because of $$$, ignorance (at all levels from voter to regulator to legislator), the legal requirements to treat uninsured/medicaid/medicare patients, etc. etc.

            And yes I know all about the “tests” nonsense. But even that is kept down these days from what it could become.

            “If we’re all paying for everybody else’s medical care anyway, why do we need to have a bunch of insurance companies making profits?”

            Because you need to be able to pay for it, and right now we’re not all paying equally for everyone else’s care? The only other alternative that I know of is either a. personal savings (disasterous for nearly everyone) or b. taxes. And the taxes option is already quite high and will inevitably become just another wealth transfer to the poors and an excuse to continually up gubmit involvement/decisionmaking/powa (“nazis”, as defined by your friendly neighborhood leftist lawl/regulationmaker, “don’t get care” sounds like a meme until it already happened in britain in a number of instances). And all of that is on top of the gigantic amount already happening.

            The fact is the merican taxpayer is currently on the hook for paying for a decent part of nearly every developed and developing nation on earth’s “defense” budget as the Merican empire maintains security of global trade to a huge extent and keeps many many nations in check. The fact is that the gubmit is already outright hostile to its taxpayer base in many many many instances (remember half the population, if not more is “the deplorables” to at least one major political party). Further, costs are not all equally spread out. Currently if you keep yourself healthy you can certainly avoid quite a bit of health related costs in your lifetime (statistically). Esp as compared to what your tax burden would be if you’re a high income earner (so for instance, you thinking that you’re going to save money going to med4all is hilarious as you’re in the high tax brackets, unless you’re very unhealthy/unhealthy fam). Further that setup offers people at least a limited amount of self-determination. And further, going “bankrupt” isn’t the be all end all end of existence. If we want to subsidize people keeping their houses after medical expenses then we can just make a tax to fund that. Further, at least some of the ebil ones/deplorables, at least in mine and some leftists opinion, don’t really want to fund “other peoples/tribes/races/ethnicity” healthcare, who in many areas disproportionately do not have insurance, to the extent they don’t have to. In addition to all that there is straight $$$ spent by companies to preserve the current system (and all the jobs in the sector of health insurance). Finally, health insurance companies do actually offer some “service” in the overall health environment. Negotiating for drugs as a giant entity, negotiating on hospital services similarly, having some expertise in what are being discussed etc. etc. And simply liking their current doc (which the socialist system may not give them) perhaps because it is the only competent doc you’ve ever had (my old eye doc for instance was just such a creature, also had gigantic bo o bs in low cut shirt all the time as a ridic bonus, it was an amazing setup bro, my eyes actually treated till they didn’t sux, and constantly having supaer hot T hooking it up). All these things and more are reasons why various people don’t want to go full commie on healthcare. Though I myself am meh either way. Seems da m ned if you do, da m ed if don’t. Either way you go, it’s the costs that are out of control, and those are a different matter compared to “what setup you use to pay for it”. Obesity, heart disease, new treatments/etc. and etc. being huge drivers.

            1. 2.3.3.1.1.1

              “The fact is that the gubmit is already outright hostile to its taxpayer base in many many many instances (remember half the population, if not more is ‘the deplorables’ to at least one major political party). ”

              That’s hardly a “fact.” As you’re a patent examiner I don’t expect you to know what a “fact” is anyway.

              According to the other “major political party” 47% of Americans are moochers and takers. (Why they don’t all just marry a rich daddy’s girl like Paul Ryan did is a mystery to them. He really pulled himself up by his bootstraps. Why can’t everybody else?)

              1. 2.3.3.1.1.1.1

                Feel entitled much?

  7. 1

    The basic proposal… includes a price cap… .

    If you want to rein in prescription drug costs, this is how you do it. This is how all of our peer nations do it. Double bank shot changes to the patent system are a Rube Goldberg mechanism for price control. If you want to control prescription drug prices, then you want a price cap.

    There is no such thing as a free lunch, so instituting such a price cap will have both costs and benefits. If one of the benefits that you hope to achieve is to curb the growth in prescription drug prices, then experience shows that this is the way to do it.

    1. 1.1

      [M]any Republicans have offered some support for “interference” in principle.

      All politicians prevaricate at times, but some do so more frequently than others. This particular group—intriguingly enough—is recently given both more frequently and more egregiously to serious dishonesty than is the other major group—not only about policy, but about that too. I leave it to the reader to contemplate why that might be.

      1. 1.1.1

        translation: our evi1 is better than your evi1.

        Total B$.

    2. 1.2

      Double bank shot changes to the patent system are a Rube Goldberg mechanism for price control.

      Agreed.

      It’s also a Rube Goldberg mechanism for promoting research, albeit less so than a mechanism for price control. What’s the most direct method? Government funding of scientists. That direct method also comes with all kinds of additional benefits.

      1. 1.2.1

        Your direct method (i.e., communism), had been an abject failure in reality.

        Government funding MUST come from somewhere.

    3. 1.3

      There are other proposals on the table. Take your pick. Drug prices are outrageous – there is across-the-aisle agreement on this, and something will be done.

      “A bill introduced Friday (November 15, 2019) by Sen. Cory Booker aims to form a federal agency that determines drug prices and empowers the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to penalize companies that charge more by voiding patents or stripping their right to exclusively market a drug.”

      ““Every day, millions of Americans struggle to afford their lifesaving medication while the manufacturers of these drugs profit hand over fist with limited to no oversight,” Booker said in a statement. “On top of that, many of these drugs were developed through research funding from the federal government.”

      “The bill follows Canada’s model for regulating the price of pharmaceuticals in which the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board determines if patented medicines are sold at excessive prices and can order companies to lower the prices or take measures to offset the patentee’s revenues.”

      Read more at: link to law360.com

      1. 1.3.1

        If one is already going to compare costs to costs in other countries, then the comparison shouldn’t be limited to drug prices. Physicians’ salaries in the USA are also outrageous. So are hospital costs. So are malpractice awards and punitive damage awards. There are lots of places where savings could be introduced, it just depends on how socialist you want to get.

      2. 1.3.2

        [T]here is across-the-aisle agreement on this, and something will be done.

        This seems naïve. As Prof. Crouch notes above, “[t]hus Bill is likely to be blocked by Republican leaders in the Senate, although many Republicans have offered some support for “interference” in principle” (emphases added). The “bipartisan” nature of this cause is illusory. The Republican side supports government intervention “in principle,” but never this intervention or that intervention.

        N.B., the one actual, tangible intervention undertaken by a Republican power—Pres. Trump’s NIH suing Gilead for infringement—is both unlikely to succeed legally and also vanishingly unlikely to lower any drug prices even if it were to succeed.

        Do not give “both sides” here credit that they do not deserve. Elijah Cumming’s colleagues and Cory Booker are both proposing real solutions and they are on one side. The other side is talking about the price problem, but doing scant little in practice. One party is serious here, and the other is clowning & conning.

        1. 1.3.2.1

          What is naïve is anyone listening to Greg “let me whip out my credentials” Big Pharma mouthpiece DeLassus (or his known and admitted pseudonym of “Dozens”) on how “good” the Pharma industry has been in the pricing game.

    4. 1.4

      True, capping prices in the USA will lower the cost of prescription drugs for US consumers. But because this hasn’t been tried before in the USA (thus allowing companies that develop new drugs to charge US consumers proportionately more to offset R&D costs and to make profits) we don’t know what the effect will be on R&D for new drugs, should such a cap be enacted in the USA. Perhaps some economists have studied this; perhaps even some credible economists with a good track record for predictions have studied this. Maybe investment money will continue to flow to the Eli Lillys, and those companies will continue to develop new drugs; or maybe that money will go elsewhere and we’ll see less new drug development. Who wins/loses in the latter scenario?

      1. 1.4.1

        AM,

        I have provided a better suggestion:

        Simply make everything transparent in the Pharma ecosystem and then that alone would prompt those playing the international markets to have justify every level of profit in each of the different world markets.

        As I have also noted, I am obliged to not share the details that I know, but full visibility would both shut down Greg’s (Big Pharms spin ) game and make Big Pharma actually accountable to the public. Once the actual data is allowed out of the shadows and into the sun light, Pharma explanations would need pass the test of public scrutiny.

        ANY political action after the public sees ALL the data would not smack of “socialist” overtones nearly as much as what you see being put forth here.

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