Prescription Drug Prices
Article 1 –
By DENNIS THOMPSON HEALTHDAY
Prescription drug prices are skyrocketingin the United States due in large part to government regulations, a new analysis finds. These regulations allow drug manufacturers to charge monopolistic pricesthat arenâ€™t opposed by competing market forces, the researchers believe.
Drug makers charge high prices for drugs thanks largely to â€œmarket exclusivityâ€ regulations intended to allow them to recoup the research and development costs for new breakthrough medications, said senior author Ameet Sarpatwari. Heâ€™s an instructor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. The companies can do this largely unopposed because the nationâ€™s largest health insurers — Medicareand Medicaid — arenâ€™t allowed to negotiate prices, he added.
Those insurance programs cover one out of every three Americans, but under federal law must pay whatever price the drug makers charge.
Article 2 –
House approves drug price-gouging bill by Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun
Under the legislation a drug price increase by more than 50 percent would trigger a report to the attorney general, who would have power to demand an explanation for the increase.
The proposed law also allows the state’s top lawyer to ask a judge to determine whether a drug company implemented an “unconscionable increase” to a critical prescription medicine. The measure allows a judge to fine the drug company, as well as order refunds to consumers.
Attorney General Brian E. Frosh sought the new authority.
The attorney general would be able to take action if the manufacturers of an off-patent or generic drug make an “unconscionable increase” in price under a bill that passed the House on a 137-4 vote. An “unconscionable increase” is defined as an excessive increase not justified by the cost of producing or distributing the drug. Supporters say Maryland would be the first state in the nation to make off-patent pharmaceutical price-gouging something state officials could take action against.
Is resolving this issue of price gouging for prescription drugs something for government versus business to address. You must select one side.