As the U.S. grapples with rising costs for prescription medicines, the Trump administration has floated a proposal that would have Medicare use a so-called International Pricing Index as a benchmark to pay for certain drugs. Although still being crafted, the idea has, once again, focused attention on the different prices paid in the U.S. and other countries. So Suffolk University professor Marc Rodwin, who specializes in health law, has begun studying payment systems elsewhere and recently looked at France, where retail drug spending declined between 2008 and 2017, compared with rising spending in the U.S. We spoke with him about the different approaches taken by the two countries and what lessons can be learned. This is an edited version of our conversation.
Pharmalot: What prompted this and why start with France?