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Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli and his notorious $750 pill have brought new media attention and public outcry to the already contentious issue of drug pricing. But Beth Roberts, partner in the health group at Hogan Lovells, argues that while profiteering stories get the bulk of the attention, the issue of drug pricing is much more complex. Roberts shares her views on some of the most common misperceptions related to the crucial issue of drug pricing.

MYTH: It’s all about profit.
REALITY: “Drug manufacturers want to be part of the solution, and they’re always looking at ways they can offer value-based pricing to the marketplace,” says Roberts. “[But] the regulatory environment – and the many laws that affect pricing – can make that challenging.”

MYTH: It’s a U.S. problem.
REALITY: “While a lot of the media attention is focused on the U.S. market, countries all over the world are struggling with how to pay for specialty pharmaceuticals and how to finance cures within our health care systems,” Roberts says. “There is no question that this is a pressing issue around the globe.”

MYTH: It shouldn’t be a political issue.
REALITY: “It’s important for drug manufacturers to have a seat at the table and for their voices to be heard,” Roberts says. “They need to be able to talk about the value of their products… the value of cures, the value of medical innovation, and the fact that we all need to find a way that the cures can be affordable to both governments and patients.”

MYTH: Drugs cost too much, period. 
REALITY: “I think we, as a society, need to look carefully at how we pay for innovation,” Roberts says. “When you compare drug prices to the cost of having someone sick in the hospital, missing work, or dying prematurely from cancer, you realize what a complex, challenging issue it is.”

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