SECOND OPINION: Don’t Be Fooled.  Drug Companies Are Responsible For High Drug Prices

Oct 23, 2018

Repeating the same false claim over and over again doesn’t make it true.  That’s the message Forbes Opinion Editor and health care expert Avik Roy is sending to Big Pharma and its backers, who continue to blame everyone in health care but themselves for out-of-control drug prices.


As Avik wrote in The Apothecary, in response to President Trump’s promise to rein in drug prices in 2016, Big Pharma started a new campaign to blame pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) for supposedly “forcing” drug makers to charge patients higher prices.  Big Pharma has been trying to push this big lie ever since.


THE REALITY IS“That’s balderdash.  Nobody forces drug companies to charge high prices.”


IN FACT: “If it weren’t for … pharmacy benefit managers, drug prices would be even higher. … PBMs have proven to be the best at keeping drug prices lower than they otherwise would be.”


IT’S TRICKY BECAUSE“Patients and consumers and taxpayers are removed from the price of the drugs they consume, and therefore don’t always understand how their insurance premiums and Medicare costs keep rising on account of rising drug prices.  As a result, in the absence of competition, manufacturers frequently charge the highest prices they believe they can justify in the court of public opinion.”


The administration is taking steps to address this problem by strengthening price transparency and boosting competition that will expand access to more affordable drugs.


For example, just last week, the Trump Administration moved forward a proposal requiring drug companies to disclose drug prices in direct-to-consumer advertising, a critical step that will give patients the information they need to make important health care decisions.


The FDA is also taking record-breaking action to increase competition by approving more generic options and at a quicker pace.  According to a new PWC report, in 2018, the FDA approved 781 generic drugs, 90 percent more than it did in 2014.  As access to generic options continues to climb, drug makers will be forced to adapt if they want to compete.


Congress has also taken bipartisan steps to increase transparency and competition by eliminating gag clauses that prevented pharmacists from letting patients know about more affordable ways to purchase their medications.


Working with the administration and Congress, CSRxP will continue to support bipartisan, market-based solutions that promote competition, transparency and value for all patients.


CLICK HERE to read “The Real Source of Rising Drug Prices.”