[Ip-health] U.S. Senate: Drug prices too high

Ellen Shaffer ershaffer at cpath.org
Tue Dec 22 08:20:31 PST 2015

Suits me. Of course, U.S. negotiators have indeed walked away from a given
drug, price, or company, in the context of Medicaid and the VA, which is
why the industry blocked Medicare from exercising this power.

In any case, it will be useful to shift focus away from quibbling with drug
co.s about whether they deserve just a few more years of monopoly
protection to recoup the costs of biologics (or any new drugs), after which
the miracle of pure competition will kick in; and focus on comprehensive
solutions that will lower prices.  - Ellen

On Tue, Dec 22, 2015 at 7:17 AM, Ruth Lopert <ruth.lopert at gmail.com> wrote:

> The US needs to regulate prices - either directly or indirectly. I can't
> see how 'negotiating' alone will make much difference unless there is
> leverage, and willingness to walk away from the negotiation.
> On Sun, Dec 20, 2015 at 2:08 PM, Ellen Shaffer <ershaffer at cpath.org>
> wrote:
>> The hearing by the Senate Committee on Aging
>> <
>> http://www.aging.senate.gov/press-releases/senate-aging-committee-holds-1st-hearing-on-off-patent-rx-drug-price-spikes-
>> >,
>> led by Sens. Collins and McCaskill, presents impressive documentation that
>> drug prices are exorbitant, and that stimulating competition is an
>> inadequate solution, including from generics.  Generics are not available
>> for many medicines, including those off-patent; quality varies; and even
>> generic prices may be high. Debates on patent term lengths are important
>> but skirt the central problem. Voluntary "discount" programs by drug cos.
>> are window dressing. The U.S. government must have the authority to
>> negotiate prices, if not to outright set prices, as do other countries
>> with
>> equal or better results for innovation.
>> http://www.aging.senate.gov/press-releases/senate-aging-committee-holds-1st-hearing-on-off-patent-rx-drug-price-spikes-
>> Senate Aging Committee Holds 1st Hearing on Off-Patent Rx Drug Price
>> Spikes
>> PRICE INCREASES OF OFF-PATENT DRUGSWednesday, December 9, 2015
>> Click HERE
>> <
>> http://email.prnewswire.com/wf/click?upn=J6qBPRVgziwoCR2OIJDNfVqt7DYgFcv5-2FETn5EzMeD6vQ1EMdqpZ-2BiVG15BGbxfI3BeGKPHjCJrbpRs9oIhxph5nadeEDp7k439SzbaoItM-3D_3JD5Sj2EQq2uoUbP9uH12ECLf3oNLZBMKHlw6TtF0qUBQN5Df27XMbgQuqOYqLz3bjaVDWePZdMXksFTmqWDqCeYhKhRsA58FdbyJ0UzFAMNvkNYgV-2BeXaXTrn2wJ5q9RWIrMHu2-2BeTmHQuGCCrFwydCurYlzaSOrGYHB8WDTG8sLcn-2BIcLYgTgyOtulTWMbKwKFoEF659m-2BhoTf6rOejpAfJ5ctkeEia3S00W8pQpjT3ebv0MsnFC86F6DZFm68lOtOljpuSzEguw-2BSauNmLk5l0PHUo-2Bmk9kc0N0i25I0pEpUaiGFTYTD8NO-2B02lTh5gYzWtzv45cjs1OjJrVe3-2BR2t0c6Wp-2BOfRir77fqMCQ-3D
>> >
>> for
>> a copy of Senator Collins’ opening statement
>> Click HERE
>> <
>> http://email.prnewswire.com/wf/click?upn=J6qBPRVgziwoCR2OIJDNfVqt7DYgFcv5-2FETn5EzMeD6vQ1EMdqpZ-2BiVG15BGbxfI-2BEcppiBNcWTiDcHA-2FsONr600O8NIXlPt7G9KqGKuO9k-3D_3JD5Sj2EQq2uoUbP9uH12ECLf3oNLZBMKHlw6TtF0qUBQN5Df27XMbgQuqOYqLz3bjaVDWePZdMXksFTmqWDqCeYhKhRsA58FdbyJ0UzFAMNvkNYgV-2BeXaXTrn2wJ5q9RWIrMHu2-2BeTmHQuGCCrFwydCurYlzaSOrGYHB8WDTG8sLcn-2BIcLYgTgyOtulTWMbKwKFoEF659m-2BhoTf6rOejmNuL9wbF7DklKhgGgyooeHJ7uJtlOvVHxXbJC6WsbpSOtD4pSCUoo8SnMvkh8UB6M7LkYAXQiVtrp4tOcyAFj9nBg3dPxhD98FpaD-2BpHmDFfdFIVxqn9G0oWmBkOOyyy3nWJxXv4L5XjGUqL0lToGM-3D
>> >
>> for
>> a copy of Senator McCaskill’ s opening statement
>> Washington, D.C.—The Senate Special Committee on Aging, led by Chairman
>> Susan Collins and Ranking Member Claire McCaskill, held the first in a
>> series of hearings the Committee will conduct to investigate recent
>> instances of abrupt and dramatic price increases in prescription drugs
>> that
>> are no longer protected by patents. The hearing, titled *Sudden Price
>> Spikes in Off-Patent Drugs: Perspectives from the Front Lines*, began the
>> Committee’s bipartisan examination of this issue.
>>      “Prescription drugs are vital to the health and well-being of all
>> Americans, especially our nation’s seniors, 90 percent of whom take at
>> least one prescription drug in any given month,” said Senator Collins.
>> “For
>> many decades, federal policy has sought to strike the right balance
>> between
>> maintaining the incentives needed to promote innovation and the
>> development
>> of new drugs and keeping medicines affordable.  That balance we have
>> struck
>> never anticipated companies acquiring off-patent drugs and then jacking up
>> their prices to enormous heights, and doing so, as one executive
>> essentially put it, ‘because I can.’  In some instances, these price
>> increases have negatively affected patients’ and doctors’ access to
>> off-patent drugs.  One goal of our bipartisan investigation is to
>> understand why such companies can impose egregious price increases on
>> off-patent drugs they have acquired and what policies we should consider
>> to
>> counter this disturbing practice.”
>>       “There’s a line at which huge price increases on prescription drugs
>> go from rewarding innovation to price gouging,” said Senator McCaskill.
>> “In
>> particular, when these price hikes occur without any therapeutic changes
>> or
>> improvements to the drug, it raises troubling questions about whether
>> companies are taking advantage of the patients who depend on their
>> products
>> for survival.”
>>       This year alone, Americans are expected to spend more than $328
>> billion on prescription drugs.  Of this amount, individuals will pay about
>> $50 billion out-of-pocket.  The federal government will pick up another
>> $110 billion in payments through Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Affairs, and
>> other programs.
>>       Witnesses for the hearing included: Dr. Erin Fox, Director, Drug
>> Information Service, University of Utah Health Care and Adjunct Associate
>> Professor, University of Utah College of Pharmacy, Dept. of
>> Pharmacotherapy;  Dr. David Kimberlin, Professor and Vice Chair for
>> Clinical and Translational Research and Co-Director, Division of Pediatric
>> Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, University of Alabama at
>> Birmingham;Dr. Gerard Anderson, Professor, Health Policy and Management,
>> Medicine, and International Health, Johns Hopkins University; and Mr. Mark
>> Merritt, President & Chief Executive Officer, Pharmaceutical Care
>> Management Association.
>> Click HERE
>> <
>> http://email.prnewswire.com/wf/click?upn=J6qBPRVgziwoCR2OIJDNfVqt7DYgFcv5-2FETn5EzMeD6vQ1EMdqpZ-2BiVG15BGbxfI0lld1likDe1GpQRZgA-2BxD8P6CvM-2F-2BtI0nZ0RIXndc0w-3D_3JD5Sj2EQq2uoUbP9uH12ECLf3oNLZBMKHlw6TtF0qUBQN5Df27XMbgQuqOYqLz3bjaVDWePZdMXksFTmqWDqCeYhKhRsA58FdbyJ0UzFAMNvkNYgV-2BeXaXTrn2wJ5q9RWIrMHu2-2BeTmHQuGCCrFwydCurYlzaSOrGYHB8WDTG8sLcn-2BIcLYgTgyOtulTWMbKwKFoEF659m-2BhoTf6rOejuK4f4BuTtMHYticAVduEVVMC8GhHmnuUr3OBeD9Nb298BPvql42y1x3eTf2AgF0JNaS2VfRWOQbW5e-2BKK7K4E-2F-2FKkuu5n3LCR62Bg0RsM-2BP4fpyzK0t4TDkNp37QjQrobMIZz-2FjVoKaUnWAZIicUgE-3D
>> >
>> for
>> a copy Dr. Erin Fox’s testimony
>> Click HERE
>> <
>> http://email.prnewswire.com/wf/click?upn=J6qBPRVgziwoCR2OIJDNfVqt7DYgFcv5-2FETn5EzMeD6vQ1EMdqpZ-2BiVG15BGbxfIa-2BLEvK5sjQcFnwQBbbYv2L7fJzpSyiZkIsAWjEpRYs0-3D_3JD5Sj2EQq2uoUbP9uH12ECLf3oNLZBMKHlw6TtF0qUBQN5Df27XMbgQuqOYqLz3bjaVDWePZdMXksFTmqWDqCeYhKhRsA58FdbyJ0UzFAMNvkNYgV-2BeXaXTrn2wJ5q9RWIrMHu2-2BeTmHQuGCCrFwydCurYlzaSOrGYHB8WDTG8sLcn-2BIcLYgTgyOtulTWMbKwKFoEF659m-2BhoTf6rOejtW6lYQMZMBp0R7FpKXUA4YSNpZLUdQlTFQ2wLgFTBCdDRyGtcDaxrXv2aAyYN0l1fHJPerfdp0wF-2FEz4JWF8MSWF6swrdnS8xx-2FEx1u8JxyEQYE2n3y3yV6g-2BqQcCjyM6B9n4wfFIRT24bphlN-2BuWI-3D
>> >
>> for
>> a copy of Dr. David Kimberlin’s testimony
>> Click HERE
>> <
>> http://email.prnewswire.com/wf/click?upn=J6qBPRVgziwoCR2OIJDNfVqt7DYgFcv5-2FETn5EzMeD6vQ1EMdqpZ-2BiVG15BGbxfIhyneEhjFW1vN-2F2fQCYPfMB-2FwHJVCFmrGHfIs7YF7bLc-3D_3JD5Sj2EQq2uoUbP9uH12ECLf3oNLZBMKHlw6TtF0qUBQN5Df27XMbgQuqOYqLz3bjaVDWePZdMXksFTmqWDqCeYhKhRsA58FdbyJ0UzFAMNvkNYgV-2BeXaXTrn2wJ5q9RWIrMHu2-2BeTmHQuGCCrFwydCurYlzaSOrGYHB8WDTG8sLcn-2BIcLYgTgyOtulTWMbKwKFoEF659m-2BhoTf6rOejgb-2FIrB7AnFJxTpW3228m0-2BOxfuEWzIZ4mdmsPrEvUat-2F0T1bZrOhm2H3B8DHGqsCl4v9qltGx4Ir2bbj2eYxc5aKBasDXEZUMyvMw56gAMyXmlGfQo0Eo02mHwgucZsSYv4IQTjn0waWjqX6994HRc-3D
>> >
>> for
>> a copy of Dr. Gerard Anderson’s testimony
>> Click HERE
>> <
>> http://email.prnewswire.com/wf/click?upn=J6qBPRVgziwoCR2OIJDNfVqt7DYgFcv5-2FETn5EzMeD6vQ1EMdqpZ-2BiVG15BGbxfIAKpWrnlxcUmCRqyx-2BJ0T4i-2F5CA4VgKwBN6IOyAZGMGM-3D_3JD5Sj2EQq2uoUbP9uH12ECLf3oNLZBMKHlw6TtF0qUBQN5Df27XMbgQuqOYqLz3bjaVDWePZdMXksFTmqWDqCeYhKhRsA58FdbyJ0UzFAMNvkNYgV-2BeXaXTrn2wJ5q9RWIrMHu2-2BeTmHQuGCCrFwydCurYlzaSOrGYHB8WDTG8sLcn-2BIcLYgTgyOtulTWMbKwKFoEF659m-2BhoTf6rOejsqJ0tOjHJXKbaLqXupJfHFcefZtwH4iNtnXodEHDTzDpqPEz4PXqeJ4-2FSky25ax7BioIvHuxyTLTtgl3umAZ1OSeDBMSPuQNfBhzjoVxEWIXjrLtP7ykM3sEdR5pOC6byUUJ09GZDb-2FoKj99qxAPi8-3D
>> >
>> for
>> a copy of Mr. Mark Merritt’s testimony
>> - Ellen Shaffer
>> --
>> Dr. Ellen R. Shaffer, PhD MPH
>> Asst. Clinical Professor, UCSF
>> Co-Director, Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health/CPATH
>> P.O. Box 29586
>> San Francisco, CA 94129-0586
>> Phone 415-922-6204
>> www.cpath.org
>> _______________________________________________
>> Ip-health mailing list
>> Ip-health at lists.keionline.org
>> http://lists.keionline.org/mailman/listinfo/ip-health_lists.keionline.org

Dr. Ellen R. Shaffer, PhD MPH
Asst. Clinical Professor, UCSF
Co-Director, Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health/CPATH
P.O. Box 29586
San Francisco, CA 94129-0586
Phone 415-922-6204

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