Consistent drug pricing would help all

I found a recent column by Megan McArdle about the very current issue of Medicare “negotiation” of drug prices and the costs of drug development to be thorough and highly informative.

However, I wish to point out that the larger picture places the U.S. in the global marketplace more correctly. For decades we have been inundated with the fact that the rest of the developed countries pay less than we do for their medicine.

So what can drug companies do? The current debate about the constitutional legitimacy and the loss of future medical opportunities is a smokescreen. And the answer is more simple.

Basic global business principles would dictate, in large part, that producers level the playing field by charging more or less equivalent prices everywhere. Over time, raising prices in the rest of the world should offset the lower prices “negotiated” here in the U.S.

Although hesitant to ask Canada, Europe, Australia, Japan and other wealthy nations to pay more, perhaps it is more fair in light of the fact that the bulk of scientific innovation — covid vaccines are a great example — is accomplished by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and thus from U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Big Pharma is a lucrative business based on a “blockbuster drug” business model. And they have big bucks to spare. Surely their own interest to keep this goose laying golden eggs would be served by a more equitable pricing structure for the nation.

Andy Branca

Camano Island

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