Skip to Main Content

The pharmaceutical industry says that if the U.S. reduces the astronomical drug prices paid by U.S. consumers, lifesaving innovation will be devastated.

That’s not true. There are ways for the U.S. to reduce drug prices while maintaining and perhaps even accelerating its innovation engine.


In recent decades, the United States has largely privatized its biomedical research and development not by intention but by default. A Research!America analysis shows that private industry accounted for two-thirds of the $194 billion spent on biomedical R&D in the U.S. in 2018, when the analysis was completed, while spending by the federal government comprised just 22%, most of which came from the $37 billion funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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

  • Everyone agrees that drug prices particularly price increases are not sustainable. But another phony “expert” with no expertise in drug development spouting off is not helpful. The mRNA vaccines were built upon basic research- but the idea that Universities and the NIH can seamlessly replace drug companies is laughable to anyone with any experience in drug development. Funding more NIH grants will not magically result in more treatments if drug companies are eliminated- universities have minimal expertise in many areas particularly scaling manufacturing in a tightly controlled manner.

    • I don’t agree with your first sentence — drug costs have been around 12-14% of total healthcare costs for years. And during that time we are getting more and more for drugs for that price (as new drugs are added and old ones go generic). How is that unsustainable?

      Healthcare is a labor intensive business, but it is much easier politically to complain about pharma profits than to look at salaries for doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, technicians etc.

Comments are closed.