"Eye-Popping" Costs for Drugs Could Threaten Other Pressing Societal Needs

Monday, July 28, 2014
"Eye-Popping" Costs for Drugs Could Threaten Other Pressing Societal Needs
America needs to take steps to prevent "eye-popping" prices of new drugs from driving health care costs so high that other societal needs suffer, write David Blumenthal, M.D., president, and David Squires, senior researcher to the president, The Commonwealth Fund, on the foundation's blog.
The two write that "if more and more" new high-priced drugs come on line, "the aggregate expense of providing them to eligible patients seems likely to skyrocket. This would create huge new challenges in balancing high health care costs against other pressing societal imperatives, such as education, housing, transportation infrastructure, and the very research and development that has spawned the new treatments."
Dr. Blumenthal and Squires outline several options for addressing the challenge of runaway drug costs. They range from determining which products actually add much to existing care to finding ways to make new treatments affordable to preventing "drug manufacturers from earning extraordinary profits using the monopoly powers granted them under current patent law." Other steps include finding ways to make less expensive alternatives available as quickly as possible and a redoubling of "efforts efforts to eliminate the wasteful practices that drive up our health care spending."....
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