It's the healthcare ecosystem, stupid

  • by: Peter Pitts |
  • 05/15/2018
Per Paul Krugman's op-ed, Just Saying Yes to Drug Companies -- anyone who was paying attention to President Trump's press conference or has read the White House Blueprint should understand that drug pricing is an ecosystem that includes manufacturers and multiple intermediaries. Games are being played and patients are (generally) the losers.

Why not a single word from Dr. Krugman about the very questionable practices of, for example, Prescription Benefit Managers? PBMs receive large rebates (aka, "kick-backs") and, rather than passing along the savings to patients, they pocket hundreds of millions of dollars. President Trump and HHS Secretary Alex Azar made it very clear they will demand that these rebates be used to "lower the price at the pump" -- lower co-pays for patients when they get their drugs at the pharmacy.

When people say, "My drugs are too expensive," what they mean is "My co-pay" or "My deductible" is too expensive. Shame on Dr. Krugman for perpetuating the myth that drug prices are a one-dimensional issue. And shame on him for ignoring the many solid recommendations made by the President and his healthcare team. As the Yiddish proverb goes, "A half truth is a whole lie." It's the ecosystem, stupid.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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