The Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act (PDPRA) is expected to work its way through Congress this fall.
The bipartisan legislation seeks to reform and modernize Medicaid, Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D. But proponents of free markets say the legislation is a “quick fix” that does nothing to address the underlying causes of rising prescription drug costs.
Introduced in July as a “Chairman’s Markup” in the Senate Finance Committee, the PDPRA of 2019 sets to lower costs spent on prescription drugs for those on government programs. An analysis by the Congressional Budget Office indicates the plan would save money on prescription drugs for government, taxpayers and patients.
However, AnneMarie Schieber, managing editor and research fellow of Health Care News, published by The Heartland Institute, said the legislation may not help the situation and that a better option would be to let the health care market function like a normal market without government interference.
“The public is looking for quick fixes, but once again, high drug prices are a symptom of our third-party payer system that has negatively and grossly distorted prices in health care,” Schieber told FDA Reporter. “Consumers eventually pay these costs through rising insurance premiums, co-pays and taxes, frankly, as the government is one of the biggest purchasers of health care.”
Schieber said that in a market functioning normally, consumers would determine the prices they’re willing to pay for goods and services, based on value. In the health care market, that would equate to prices paid for drugs and medical services and treatments.
“Additionally, we need to support the Free to Choose medicine movement that can reduce the time and cost of developing what, in many cases, are lifesaving drugs,” Schieber said. “Bottom line, retail medicine and getting government out of the way is the answer to rising health care prices.”