By Marion Mass, M.D.
This article originally ran in RealClearHealth on November 5th.
Supporters of the Inflation Reduction Act have made claims about lowering the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs. But the bill does neither and sets a dangerous precedent that will lead to less access to care and fewer cures for patients. In fact, not only does it harm healthcare – it funnels money toward the two entities that are currently the biggest problems in healthcare – Pharmacy Benefit Managers and insurers.
The proposal claims to give the government the ability to ‘negotiate’ drug prices in the Medicare space. But the form of negotiation included in the bill is something that only the government would call negotiation. For instance, on Page 89 of the 725-page bill, the penalties for the drug companies who don’t take the price offered by HHS Secretary are described: they will pay ten times the cost of the medication if they don’t comply. That isn’t negotiation – that is price fixing. And, with the US already experiencing over 200 medication and solution shortages price fixing will only make things worse instead of better.
With price fixing money can be saved in the short-run, but this short-run savings comes at a high cost – fewer drugs in the future. CBO forecasts that the result of this proposal is 59 fewer drugs coming to market over the next several decades. That may not sound like much unless you are one of the 10% of Americans with a rare disease or currently incurable disease. For example, the 100,000 US citizens with sickle cell disease, which has substantial morbidity and mortality are now within reach of an innovative curative therapy.
Now, drug prices are high. But if politicians were actually paying attention to the market, they could see why – middlemen…
You can read the full article here.
Marion Mass, M.D. is a practicing pediatrician, co-founder of Practicing Physicians of America and leadership in Free2Care.