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Discussing Drug Price Controls | American Enterprise Institute

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This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Genetech CEO Alexander Hardy at an event hosted by The Atlantic on the state of healthcare. We discussed the significant changes a healthcare leader would need to make if drugs in Medicare were subject to federally imposed price controls. This type of policy would make the already quite risky investment in Alzheimer’s disease research even more of a challenge.

I also appeared on Yahoo Finance’s closing bell program, Final Round, to discuss what federal price controls would mean for US business and consumers. I was asked, “Why should the US subsidize the world’s innovation in medicine?” In reality it may be unfair, but the next logical question is, if not the US who will step in and do it? Maybe China, a country whose government has been investing in developing the innovative pharmaceutical sector. But that really doesn’t seem to be in the long-term best interest of the US, to cede our longstanding leadership and the investment that flows to our scientists and physicians in order to have lower prices in Medicare today.

In reality, most medicines in the US are inexpensive and we still aren’t using them according to guidelines. Why wouldn’t we try some less drastic and harmful fixes in Medicare first, before going to the one action we know will result in fewer treatments and cures? We could require drug companies and health insurance plans to share more of the cost of specialty drugs, lower people’s out of pocket costs, and collect and share data about how well the medicines are working. There is a lot we should have the courage to do with American ingenuity before we consider adopting another country’s price control policy.

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