Dr Gail Wilensky: Increased Competition a Better Drug Pricing Solution Than Cost Controls

Both political parties want to lower the price of drugs, but differ in how they think it should be done. Gail Wilensky, PhD, of Project HOPE, explained her opinion that spurring more competition would be a more successful approach than directly implementing price controls.
Transcript (slightly modified)
Drug pricing is the one area that Republicans and Democrats seem to agree that something needs to be done. Do you believe there will be bipartisan legislation addressing drug costs? What might that look like?
It’s not obvious to me that the drug pricing, at the end of the day, will be any easier. Democrats usually mean at the end of the day they want to control directly price increases or pricing on drugs; most Republicans don’t. Even though it sometimes sounds like the White House might, the Republican congress isn’t likely to do so.
It may be possible to get legislation that has more transparency about drug pricing, that also provides more support for expedited review by the FDA, but we may need to wait to see how much the 21st Century Cures Act, which also attempts to do that, works and if there are other areas that are needed.
So, they are both interested in the issue of putting downward pricing on drugs. I like the strategies that make competition more likely to occur and therefore expedited review or other ways to try to up the competition. I’m one of the limited number of people who actually had an opportunity to see what it’s like to implement price controls in healthcare, running Medicare and Medicaid. I’m not impressed that we would do ourselves a favor if we introduce that into the drug pricing world.
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