One of the major factors in the high cost of health care is the high cost of drugs, and as Ms. Margot Sanger-katz notes in her article “The Real Reason Medicare Is a Lousy Drug Negotiator: It Can’t Say No” (The New York Times 2/2/2016) that Presidential candidates have offered various approaches to decrease the cost of life-saving drugs. Specifically, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Sanders, and Mr. Trump has called for better negotiating strategies by the U.S. federal government for Medicare drug prices. Unfortunately, as Sanger-katz writes, “But if you talk to experts who study the pharmaceutical market in the United States, they aren’t optimistic that, by itself, letting the government play drug negotiator would take a big bite out of prescription drug spending.”

Newer drug costs money due to the cost of research, marketing, paying out dividends to investors, and other expenses incurred from running a pharmaceutical company. Developing new drugs are expensive, and the costs are passed down to consumers. However, the people that need the newly developed drugs the most are not necessarily able to pay for them. And even if the U.S. government subsidizes those drugs completely to the economically disadvantaged drug users, the rest of the country have to pay for the high drug cost.

The key question is how can we reduce the cost of newly developed drugs while keeping the pharmaceutical companies competitive in the global drug market? Simply putting a cap on drugs might run the risk of putting certain drugs out of the market due to unsustainable price limits for the pharmaceutical companies. Nevertheless, the pharmaceutical companies had no specific price control regulations and price on some of the life-saving drugs are too costly for the health care system to keep general health care cost sustainable.

There does not seem to be any viable solution to this problem, but if there is a potential solution, the drug companies and public officials need to come together as partners to devise such a solution, not merely antagonize each other. Because if drug companies decide to pull their drugs out of the U.S., then the patient that need them most will face severe consequences.


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