Sep 24, 2019

America is pharma's piggybank

Reproduced from the Ways and Means Committee; Table: Axios Visuals

Americans would save a boatload if we paid the same prices as other wealthy countries pay for prescription drugs, a new analysis from the House Ways & Means Committee confirms.

Why it matters: This is why the industry is so staunchly opposed to both President Trump's and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's plans to piggyback off of other countries' lower prices.

Where it stands: Most countries included in the analysis have average drug prices that are between 24% and 30% of U.S. prices. Government regulations keep drug prices lower in these countries.

  • Those U.S. prices don't take into account rebates and discounts, which bring down the price most insured patients actually pay.
  • The average rebate in Medicare Part D is about 22%, according to a 2015 estimate from the Congressional Budget Office. Those rebates would have to be significantly bigger to match other countries' prices.

The other side "International comparisons link list prices in the United States — that almost nobody pays — to these artificially low prices set by governments in other countries," PhRMA spokesperson Holly Campbell said.

  • "In every country where the government sets medicine prices, patients face significant restrictions in accessing new medicines and long treatment delays," she added.

Yes, but: Many patients with high deductibles or no insurance at all pay the list price for their prescriptions, leading to unfilled prescriptions and other medication adherence issues.

Go deeper

New drugs are launching with ever-higher prices

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The average launch prices for new brand-name drugs have skyrocketed over the past decade, according to an analysis from drug research firm 46brooklyn.

Why it matters: The U.S. prescription drug market increasingly has thrived on high initial price tags and subsequent increases. That has resulted in higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs for new drugs, as well as more expensive generics.

Go deeperArrowOct 16, 2019

Pete Buttigieg joins 2020 Democrats' leftward march on drug prices

Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg released Tuesday his plan to reduce prescription drug prices, which includes many of the liberal proposals that have become the new Democratic normal.

Between the lines: This plan puts Buttigieg somewhere in the leftward middle of the top-tier candidates on drug prices. The field — and the party as a whole — is much more aggressive on the subject than Democrats have been in the past.

Go deeperArrowOct 8, 2019

Trump's smoke-and-mirrors 2020 health care strategy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump may be telling voters everything that they want to hear when it comes to health care, but much of it isn't true.

Why it matters: Trump is claiming victories he hasn't achieved and making promises he's not prepared to live up to, all on an immensely personal subject that voters consistently rank as one of the most important issues of 2020.