Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Europe leads in pharmaceutical research

Our uniquely American health care system is noted for its high prices for relative mediocrity. Some contend that our pharmaceutical industry provides an exception. It doesn't. We are paying high prices for new chemical entities that over 85 percent of the time are providing us with no real benefit over existing products.

Many contend nevertheless that innovations provided by U.S. pharmaceutical firms are well worth our very high prices. Yet productivity of European pharmaceutical firms remains even higher, and they are able to provide new products at much lower prices.

When reform advocates look at the excessive costs of U.S. health care, two favorite targets are the private insurance industry and the pharmaceutical firms. Policies that would reduce these burdens are no secret. Physicians for a National Health Program has described policies that would eliminate the private insurance burden. Arjun Jayadev and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, in the article cited above, provide examples of policies that would increase value in our purchasing of pharmaceuticals.

So what is Congress's response? They intend to expand the dysfunctional private insurance markets, and use more of our tax money for subsidies. For the biotech industry they are expanding data exclusivity thereby keeping generics off the market for longer periods. Reform is going to bring us more overpriced, inadequate private insurance plans and more overpriced pharmaceuticals/biologics.

Tell Congress that reform is not about enhancing the business models of the insurance and pharmaceutical firms. It’s about making health care affordable and accessible for everyone. Go back and get it right.

Read it all at PNHP's Official Blog

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