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Americans are justifiably angry that we pay the highest prescription drugs prices in the world – anger President Trump tapped into on the campaign trail. The disparity exists because other rich countries use price control schemes, forcing American consumers to provide the returns on capital that justify the enormous research and development costs associated with bringing new cures to market; the rest of the world free-rides on our innovation.
The good news is that the Trump administration has been aggressive on the trade front in efforts to break foreign price control regimes; the bad news is that the Trump administration is also proposing to actually import foreign price control regimes into the Medicare program by adopting a payment formula that is pegged to foreign prices.
Report - Opportunity - Costs - Socialism - White
In its recent report “The Opportunity Costs of Socialism,” the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) looked at "the impact on medical innovation of the U.S. adopting European-style price controls" and found: “If M4A would entail the same experience with below-market prices as other countries with socialized medicine, it would reduce the world market size and thereby medical innovation, and ultimately mean that future patients would forgo the health gains that would have come from these forgone innovations.”
It is remarkable that, just days later, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar proposed setting prices for drugs in the Medicare Part B program, which are doctor-administered drugs, with a formula based on foreign price controls.
Efforts - US - Trade - Representative - Price
That would directly undercut the efforts of the U.S. Trade Representative to combat foreign price controls. A recent study by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity found that eliminating price controls in OECD countries would result in eight to 13 more drugs coming to market every year by 2030 and raise life expectancy in the United States by 1.1 to 1.6 years.
The U.S. Commerce...
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