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WASHINGTON — South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Monday unveiled a sweeping plan aimed at lowering prescription drug prices — and though he’s one of the most moderate Democrats in the 2020 presidential race, the plan is anything but.

Buttigieg’s proposal includes a number of drug pricing ideas once seen as radical, including a policy change that would force pharmaceutical manufacturers to forfeit as much as 95% of a drug’s revenue if the company refuses to negotiate prices. “Worst offender” drug companies could also forfeit their patent rights.


“It’s time for a new era of leadership in Washington ready and eager to make drugs affordable and take on pharmaceutical companies,” states a policy paper that the Buttigieg campaign shared with STAT. “Pete has the courage to break with the status quo by focusing on real solutions that will lower costs and make needed—even life-saving—prescription drugs available to all Americans.”

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  • You said Pete Buttigieg is one of the most moderate candidates. Take a look at Pete for America and read his policies. He is not one of the most moderate. He is squarely between Warren and Biden.

  • While all of this sounds good the devil is in the details. The United States does support drug pricing of all the other countries on earth and dire predictions of drug shortages or inability of patients to receive cutting edge drugs may not be true. Pharma will need a market for drugs and up to this point they have depended on the US to make up any short-fall. If the US will only pay what other countries pay, the expansion of availability may be an end result. After being in pharmacy for 42 years I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly and it is damn ugly right now. Any solution must include a provision to pay community pharmacies a professional fee that covers their cost to dispense. Currently the reimbursement keeps getting slimmer and slimmer with some total reimbursements not even covering the cost of the medication. Use of the National Average Drug Acquisition Cost (NADAC) data base plus the average cost to dispense in each state gives pharmacies a reasonable chance at covering their costs to dispense. This formula also decreases the ability of Prescription
    Benefits Managers (PBMs) to play games with reimbursement. Currently the formulas used hide money, take it back from pharmacies at a later date, and allow PBMs to reap giant rebates from drug manufacturers.

  • Hmmmm . . . . Pharmas make returns on investment on the order of 4-10%. Drive down prices where you eliminate profits and exactly why would they continue to innovate?

    Why not extend the Buttigieg idiocy? Expensive restaurants should be mandated to operate at McDonald’s pricing. Cars costing more than $40,000 should be mandated to be sold at $400. Why stop at mandating minimum wages of $15 when you can mandate minimum wages of $1500/hour? And how do you force this – you do what he proposes, seize the value of the assets.

    That worked so well for the USSR and more recently for Venezuela.

    • In what world??

      They make 63% of health care profits and have an average profit margin of 18%. Not to mention they spend $29.9 billion on marketing. Yes, those poor souls, they’re nearly down to nothing.

  • It’s good & detailed because it’s Kamala Harris’s plan. SHe unveiled it long before Pete did & it has her stamp all over it. She developed it after consulting with key stake holders and has been talking about it for some time now. Pete should give credit where it’s due

  • The use of the word “wonky” in the third to last paragraph reads as demeaning in an article that should simply be outlining the plan. I would highly encourage editing that. Great piece otherwise!

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