Author: Pacific Research Institute

Dr. Henry Miller, PRI senior fellow in health care studies and former founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology, joins PRI's "Next Round" podcast with an update on efforts to develop vaccines and therapeutics to fight Covid-19.  He discusses how a transition between two presidential administrations will affect the work of the federal government in fighting Covid-19, whether a national mask mandate is a good idea, whether Governors like Gavin Newsom should initiate state-level reviews of potential vaccines, and...

By Henry I. Miller, M.S., M.D. and John J. Cohrssen The United States is one of the most seriously COVID-19-impacted countries, faring the worst among the ten most-affected countries worldwide, as measured by new cases. The pandemic threatens both American lives and the economy. Even more worrisome, as shown below in this figure, the situation is deteriorating. Two things about those trends are especially problematic: first, deaths are a lagging indicator, following chronologically behind cases and hospitalizations, so the death curve will continue upwards; and...

Shots Heard 'Round the World: Will Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines Start End of Pandemic? By Adam Smith, The Street The U.S. found itself this month both in the most dangerous stage of the Covid-19 pandemic to date, and in the most hopeful stage. Just as the daily case counts of new coronavirus infections surged toward 200,000, the developers of two different vaccines said their shots were around 95% effective at preventing development of full-blown Covid-19 in patients. . . . . . On the other hand,...

A new brief released today by the Center for Medical Economics and Innovation at the nonpartisan Pacific Research Institute shows that counterfeit drugs put patients in harm’s way, hinder drug innovation, and lead to job losses. Proposals like drug importation or price controls, if implemented, would exacerbate the problem and result in more health and economic consequences. Click here to download the brief “Counterfeit drugs expose patients to potentially lethal contaminants, and may also increase public health risks by failing to effectively...

Ex-FDA Doc: Agency Suffering ‘Unprecedented’ Loss of Trust By Adam Smith Early this year, when the novel coronavirus that was devastating China began to spread to other countries, hope came in the promise of a quick vaccine, one that doctors and scientists bet could be created in just a year and a half if all went well. But some were cautious, such as Dr. Henry I. Miller, who for many years worked at the Food and Drug Administration and who was a founding director of the agency's...

Title: Big Pharma Backs Joe Biden, But People Don't Think He'll Fix Drug Pricing By Darragh Roche Former Vice President Joe Biden is winning the race for donations from Big Pharma but experts and industry stakeholders doubt his plans will successfully lower drug prices or address underlying issues in the industry. The pharmaceuticals and health products industry has donated more than $5.9 million to Biden's presidential campaign, according to OpenSecrets.org, a site run by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political donations....

By: Henry Miller, M.S., M.D. and Andrew Fillat Recently, we co-authored an article about the thorny issues surrounding who would get access to the earliest doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. As we discussed, there are many possible options for setting priorities in terms of who should be vaccinated first. One obvious solution one would be to prioritize the people who are instrumental in mitigating the pandemic, with front-line medical personnel and staff at long-term care facilities going to the head of the line....

If you’ve ever had a medical procedure and received a large bill from your hospital because, unknown to you, one of your doctors was not in your insurance network – that’s the subject of this podcast. On "Next Round," PRI senior fellow Wayne Winegarden discusses his recently released study on “Surprise Medical Billing.” He explains how it happens, why it happens, and the reforms that could prevent it. https://youtu.be/G4BvoVHT4so...

While discussing many pandemic-related issues with friends and colleagues, we were reminded of the quip of journalist and satirist H.L. Mencken: “For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” As we battle the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the illness it causes, COVID-19, the “fog of war” continues on both the medical and epidemiological fronts. On the public health side, different studies, especially those that involve modeling, seem to reach conflicting, or at least ambiguous, conclusions. And...

As they approach the end of the Drug Pricing Maze, the Professor and Pete explore reforms to fix a broken system and encourage the use of cheaper biosimilars that can help patients and the health care system save big. They also learn what can be done to make very expensive gene therapies that provide a lot of value for patients more affordable and accessible....

Surprise Billing Price Controls Decreasing Care Quality in CA By: Jacqueline LaPointe, Reporter Researchers at the Pacific Research Institute are warning Congressmembers to steer clear from price controls as a solution for surprise billing after finding that the policy approach had unintended consequences in California. In a new brief, researchers found that California’s surprise billing solution – which imposes benchmark prices on out-of-network services delivered at an in-network facility – narrowed provider networks for patients and incented further provider consolidation in the state. “California’s surprise...

The Professor and Pete must collect 3 keys to finally escape the drug pricing maze.  The first key involves reforms to increase drug affordability for patients who buy their drugs at a pharmacy.  The Professor shows Pete that these reforms should ensure that prices are transparent, easy to understand, and help patients benefit from the large discounts that are being paid....

Title: Trump's proposed executive orders on drug pricing may hinder R&D and drug development Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor, Health Care Finance Recently, President Trump proposed four different executive orders aimed at lowering drug prices in a move that some see as calculated to secure votes from seniors in the run-up to November's presidential election. There's no doubt that drug prices have become a challenge for many Americans, but as finer details of the executive orders have yet to emerge, it's unclear whether...

By Shiv Sharma and Henry I. Miller, M.S., M.D. As the nation emerges in fits and starts from the lockdowns spurred by the first wave of COVID-19 illnesses, we're beginning to appreciate the full impact of the pandemic, how tenacious it is, and that the sickness and death directly caused by the virus are only part of the picture. The three-month-plus suspension of routine, non-emergency medical care has created secondary, silent epidemics of societal and medical problems that require the urgent focus...

PRI senior fellow in health care studies Dr. Henry Miller joins "Next Round with PRI" to give an update on what scientists are learning about COVID-19 and the progress in finding a vaccine. He also weighs in on whether schools should be reopening this fall, gives his thoughts on what the Trump administration is doing good and bad in fighting the pandemic, and offers advices on how we can reduce our chances of getting the coronavirus. https://youtu.be/r8PCYOt_h5Y...

The Professor and Pete go to the movies to learn why there is a drug affordability problem. After watching a scary thriller about list prices and net prices, an adventure on the prescription escalator, and a movie on biosimilars, they learn that a) specific patient populations are impacted by the drug affordability problem; and b) these issues can be fixed with targeted reforms to achieve innovation and affordability....

By: Henry Miller, M.S., M.D. and Kathleen Hefferon, Ph.D. COVID-19 has turned our world upside down in so many ways, and the food supply chain is no exception. Whether consumers prefer fast or slow food, meat-based or vegan, local or imported, organic or conventional, supermarkets or farmers' markets, every aspect of our food supply chain, from farm to fork, has been affected by this scourge. The recent, rampant outbreaks of COVID-19 among meat-processing workers – over the past month or so, the...