Tuesday, September 06, 2016

The Cost of Medicines

One of the biggest challenges we face in the coming years with regard to health care is reining in costs. I recently read a great synopsis on why prescription drugs cost so much in the United States. This JAMA article is definitely worth perusing. It explores concisely and clearly why normal supply-demand economics don't apply to prescription medications. By looking at protected monopolies created by patents, restrictions on government negotiation for Medicare drugs, tactics used by the pharmaceutical industry to delay generic drugs, and physician prescribing practices, it sheds a lot of light on why we are here now. The article also addresses a lot of counterarguments relating to the cost of medications in the U.S. such as research and development investments and cost-sharing with patients. It proposes several reasonable and well-supported measures to decrease the burden of prescription medications on health care cost in America. I don't often write a blog that points to a separate article, but I really believe this paper summarizes the problem in a more comprehensive, accessible, and thought-provoking manner than I could ever achieve.

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