Contribute Try STAT+ Today

WASHINGTON — Of all his campaign promises, President Trump’s vow to bring down drug prices was perhaps the most popular.

An assortment of interest groups spoke out loudly and passionately on the need for action, from hospitals to doctors to insurers to generic drug makers to patients themselves.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!


What is it?

STAT+ is STAT's premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond.

What's included?

  • Daily reporting and analysis
  • The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters
  • Subscriber-only newsletters
  • Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day
  • STAT+ Conversations
  • Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations
  • Exclusive industry events
  • Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country
  • The best reporters in the industry
  • The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry
  • And much more
  • Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr.
  • “doctors, too, make more money under Medicare rules if they administer a more expensive drug to a given patient” This comment you wrote is simply not true. Please explain further why you believe and how doctors are paid a kickback from Medicare for doing this.

  • Everybody wants new innovation but don’t want to allow those that develop them to profit. Why is it ok for managed care companies to increase profits considerably by denying patients better meds by pushing generics, charging huge copays and deductibles. They do not care about patient care in the least. Every day they force doctors to switch meds just so they can make more money, but I guess you’re ok with that. In fact why don’t we treat every industry the same and not let anyone make money and grow. People will feel differently when they are sick and there is no medication available to help.

  • It is remarkable how completely federal health regulatory agencies have been captured by those they regulate. Also remarkable how completely Congress has been captured by its donors. Perhaps the solution is to get industry stakeholders away from the table. Put patients and physicians there instead. And elect a new crop of patient-centered, not industry-centered, people to Congress.

    • Great idea. I am so ready for something like this to be done. I am there; please advise as to how and when we are to convene such a significant group. I am totally with you on this committee.

    • Laura
      Your suggestion is called SELF PAY FOR MEDICAL CARE
      It was suggested by Dr. Ben Carson during his POTUS run in 2016 and has been suggested by Senators Hatch, Webster, Lee, as well as former Senator Price
      it is EASY to do but unfortunately, it is not supported by the left who believe that a nation should pay any and all expenses for its constituents who either refuse to or marginally can’t afford to belly up to the table
      I am ALL for assisting the poor and the disabled the issue is not them the issue is the “above poor but under the rich” groups
      I refuse to call them middle class since that implies a segment of semi-wealthy folks who are doing fine. The reality is that there are FAR more in this group then we are willing to suggest
      How many people who buy X-box and iPhones and drive Ford F150s should we carry around as “needy”
      Instead of looking to spread the wealth around we should be looking to modify the costs for everyone and then let those who want to buy things find a way
      Decisions on medical care should be based on a doctor and a patient and insurance is something paid for by savings.
      Eliminate the employee tax incentives for employers to buy insurance for the employees and instead give tax breaks for employees to put as much as they want into MSA’s (medical savings accounts) to buy premiums and copays and deductibles with
      Allow ANYONE to contribute to these accounts so that they become family legacies passed down from generation to generation and from one family to another in times of need
      If everyone was given actual money to buy insurance instead of insurance then we all could be in charge and that power would force ALL players in the industry to become cost conscious
      If everyone was paying for care they could shop around and ask about prices and negotiate for prices rather then simply ignoring the elephant in the room
      People could buy totally comprehensive plans or they could buy only major medical plans regardless they have the savings account to fund any options and the like
      By offering all the funds as tax-exempt that would force everyone to decide do they put money in the MSA or the iPhone?
      ENOUGH of the handouts and then complaining about how the deals were structured. if we refuse to take part in the process we should not have a say if it turns out badly. Today everyone simply says “let the insurance handle it” and when they are sick and insurance sucks they THEN become enraged when all along they could have been in control
      Dr. Dave

  • It’s actually not that hard. It’s just that the US is incapable of ever leaning anything from any other country. Every other industrialised country in the world regulated drug prices – either directly or indirectly. The US just needs to bite the bullet and stare down pharma. I have to laugh when I see comments like ‘the gorwth in prices is slowing’. Why are the allowed to grow at all?

    • How else do you think they are able to fund R&D? I bet you would like the best medication for you and your family but for free. Very shortsighted and naive about how the healthcare system works.

  • Did any of the writers and analysts even work for a company that sells stuff, be they private or public? Investors and shareholders demand growth, even if the company is consistently making a profit. How do you get top line growth while taking huge risks, either via capital (external innovation – btw, do you guys include business development war chest into the R&D spend vs. returns analyses?) or via operational costs, in the timing of the cash flow? Companies answer to shareholders. Shareholders demand growth. The most surefire way to get growth is to increase price from current basis.

  • I would suggest that we look at how patentsystem works. We need to allow companies to be reimbursed for their $1 billion or so it cost to produce a new medicine plus A reasonable profit . Perhaps we should allow them to be able to prolong the Patton longer than usual so they may recuperate their original investment. How are we should not let them prolong their patent using gimmicks“. Also we should reform our malpractice laws which does contribute to the high cost of some medicines. Also we should allow the American industry to use some of the studies with your performed in Europe and other qualified countries to expedite and decrease the cost of bringing a new drug to market in the United States

    • Exactly, the patent system is currently flawed. What industry spends billions of dollars to come up with an innovative product only to lose it to generic competition that takes the idea with very little risk or money spent. Drug companies only get a 20 year patent of which half is lost to development and approval time. After its approve they need to make enough money to pay for the expense for that drug and all the drugs that failed too. Where do people think all the money spent to try and come up with a drug for Alzheimer’s or other diseases comes from?

  • I was sort of expecting a huge number of “this is easy just do this…” posts but so far not too many. As adviser to the US Senate for 3 years on everything medical and healthcare related what I can tell you is this solution is amazingly complex
    In my own opinion, the solution is to remove the Gov from private industry and make it a player rather than a master
    As the largest care provider in the US, the Polectorate should be involved in a negotiation process, not an overseeing industry changer. The Medicare system should be converted to allowing them to negotiate like every other player in the market. Also, drug prices need to be viewed on a global scale NOT a national scale
    Prices negotiated in the UK for a drug SHOULD have an effect on the US prices as well. Why does the NHS get to buy Kymryiah the new cancer drug at 75 cents on the US dollar?
    The majority of nations pay FAR less than the US on pharmaceuticals and simply ignoring that instead of trying to beat up segments of the redundant US market as the cause is crazy. I am fine with Africa buying Malaria meds on the cheap they need them we can afford the subsidy but the rest of the globe, not so much
    Sure the added layer of PBM’s here is an absolute travesty of economics but we aren’t going to wake up anytime soon and see some legislation wipe that whole industry out it has FAR too deep a place in the market share.
    InsCos use these benefit managers instead of direct negotiations so they are paying a deep price. We are paying a lot for drugs but we need to let the economics system push harder NOT the legal/lawmaking system.
    The system of M&A could easily be the cornerstone of drug price reductions. When companies like CVS and Aetna and Blue Cross and Walgreen’s and Walmart are put into a relationship that allows them to exercise their market leverage then negotiations begin to happen. YES agreed in advance that some oversight needs to be in place because human nature is going to be exercised and many of the individuals in those entities are going to flour their boards with favors and kickbacks if we aren’t watching but surely NO law or act is going to fix this issue the players are FAR too smart
    Look at 340B it took all of about 5 days for hospitals to realize they could buy ALL their drugs thru that plan and use them on every patient rather than just the poor and or needy and profit the extra money. If audited so what !!
    The only way to fight economic fire is with economic fire and not legislative fire.
    POTUS was right we need to reduce drug costs and yet we still have ACA and we still don’t allow OMS (Medicare agency that oversees federal money on Medicare and Welfare) to negotiate prices and won’t see it happening anytime soon because Pelosi and Schumer have written in stone that NO bill sent thru by either the GOP or DJT will be passed
    Time we finally drain the swamp and do better
    Dr. Dave

    • This is ridiculous. Why does the NHS get to buy Kymryiah the new cancer drug at 75 cents on the US dollar? Because that’s how much they are prepared to pay for it because that’s how much they think it’s worth. Only a stupid consumer pays whatever the seller asks without considering what the product is worth.

  • prohibit direct to consumer marketing like the government used to…when that prohibition was lifted, the prices really skyrocketed

    • I don’t like how much car companies charge me to buy a car, maybe we shouldn’t let them advertise either and then the price of cars will come down too. Do you know who won’t tell you about a new better drug? Managed care companies, because they want you on the cheapest drug that will benefit them the most whether you get better or not. They force doctors and patients to jump through hoops with prior authorizations to stop people from getting the best medication and force patients to deal with subpar treatment that causes more side effects.

  • The answer is that Congress is unwilling to lead because they too are eating at the trough of the industry. Nobody wants things to change because everyone is making so much money that the strategy of confuse, confuse, confuse keeps the status quo. The consumer suffers horribly and until he expresses this at the ballot box nothing will change.

  • Our group is making a series of films that discuss the healthcare industry debacle. The last film we completed, ‘Big Pharma: Market Failure’. You can view it at:

    • I’m not saying that Big Pharma is completely innocent but they always seem to be the easy target. I would like to see a film on generic companies and managed care companies. They both play a major role and no one questions their actions.

Comments are closed.