Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Forcing business accountability

There is a new bill in Massachusetts which would require pharmaceutical manufacturers to disclose their costs in order to justify high prices on new medications. Hmmmm.... Do you think it would fly? I hope it would.

"An alliance of lawmakers, consumers, and health insurers is pushing for a law that would force biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to justify their prices by disclosing how much they spend on research, production, and marketing. It also would allow the state’s Health Policy Commission to limit the prices of especially costly drugs, something not done anywhere in the country...."

"The bill cites “substantial public interest” in what goes into the prices of such medicines. Drug makers would be required to disclose, among other things, their development and marketing outlays, how much research was paid for with public funds, their manufacturing costs, and the prices of their drugs in other countries. It would also empower the commission, which is charged with holding down health care costs, to impose cost controls on some high-priced drugs."

Of course the pharma companies are not too happy about this. They claim it would reduce innovation. Okay, I get it. They don't want anyone snooping into their finances. But as far as I am concerned, if they get public funding, they need to be open about their pricing and use of the money.

If they choose not to get public funding, which they all do, then as far as I am concerned, there would need to be a bit more justification for the prices.

For decades, pharma manufacturers have been able to set their prices and the US has not negotiated with them, leaving Americans pinched by high prices. In recent years, new medications have cost tens or hundreds of thousands each year per patient for rare cancers or other ailments.

Someone has to create an onus for the manufacturers to justify their prices instead of just allowing them to ask for what they want. They try to justify it by saying their costs are high and hardly anyone pays the full prices because of insurance coverage or discounts from the manufacturers. That just isn't enough. They need to provide some kind of back up for their requests.

Okay, that's just my 2 cents, as usual.

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