Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fwd: qotd: The cost of failing to use government price negotiation for drugs

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-------- Original Message --------
Subject: qotd: The cost of failing to use government price negotiation
for drugs
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 13:32:24 -0700
From: Don McCanne <don@mccanne.org>
To: Quote-of-the-Day <quote-of-the-day@mccanne.org>

Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)
March 2013
State Savings with an Efficient Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit
By Dean Baker and Nicole Woo

Americans pay far higher prices for prescription drugs than do people in
other wealthy countries. The reason that other countries spend so much
less on drugs is that their governments negotiate prices with the
pharmaceutical industry. The United States government could adopt the
same approach with the Medicare drug program and use its market leverage
to negotiate the same, or even lower, prices as are paid by other
wealthy nations. This issue brief finds the potential savings to states
would be enormous, cumulatively between $31 billion and $73 billion over
10 years, and also each state individually could expect significant
savings. California leads the way, with potential savings between $3.3
and $7.8 billion. The next six top-saving states are Florida, New York,
Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois, all with projected savings of at
least $1 billion per year.


Comment: Those who have followed health policy closely are already
aware that we could have had much lower drug spending in the Medicare
Part D drug program had we authorized government price negotiation with
the pharmaceutical industry, just as other governments have done so
successfully. This new report from CEPR puts a price on the waste that
we tolerate merely because we don't place demands on our legislators to
fix the system.

Think about this a little bit more. If we demanded government price
negotiation not only for those of us enrolled in the Part D Medicare
program, but for all of us who need prescription medication, just think
of how much more reasonable our pharmaceutical spending would be. We
could do this simply by adopting a single payer, improved Medicare for
all program.

But the drug savings would be only the beginning. By now, most of you
are aware of the many other single payer policies that would produce
enough total savings to ensure high-quality care for all of us, while
making our health care delivery system affordable for the entire nation.
Why are we not beating down the doors of Congress?

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