Author: Sally Pipes

Among the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act's most destructive provisions are the price controls it puts on prescription drugs through Medicare. These price controls are certain to have a chilling effect on pharmaceutical innovation in the years ahead. But the precise manner in which the IRA will undermine biomedical research and development — and deprive future patients of breakthrough treatments — is worth considering. The law could end up discouraging exactly the kinds of scientific inquiry — and commercial development — that patients need. First, some background. In an...

Democrats have nudged the U.S. healthcare system closer to Canadian-style socialism with their recently signed, and dubiously named, Inflation Reduction Act. The IRA will impose a collection of price caps on prescription drugs. Canada has long forcibly controlled drug prices—and thereby deprived patients of access to cutting-edge care. The story will be the same in the United States, unless a future Congress and president roll back the IRA's price controls before they take effect in 2026. Among the IRA's suite of price...

The powers that be in Washington are renewing their campaign to gain greater control over Americans’ ability to access life-saving drugs. Lawmakers and regulators alike have decided to wage war on one of the few components of our health care system that works well — the Food and Drug Administration’s accelerated approval process. This regulatory pathway has saved countless lives by speeding groundbreaking medicines to market. Obstructing that pathway would be folly. The FDA created the accelerated approval pathway in 1992 in...

The quickest way to get less of something is to regulate it. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the health sector, which suffers from a chronic shortage of physicians, particularly in primary care. And it’s about to get worse. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States is facing a shortfall of up to 48,000 primary care physicians by 2034, especially in rural and historically marginalized urban areas. Many states are turning a blind eye to this looming shortage...

President Joe Biden returned from vacation in South Carolina this week to sign the Inflation Reduction Act into law. The country would have been better off had he stayed at the beach. The IRA includes a combination of massive tax increases, innovation-destroying price controls, and debt-funded spending commitments. That might be music to the ears of Democrats. But for American households struggling with spiraling prices, the future has rarely looked so dim. The new spending package comes at a moment of widespread pessimism about the future of...

Progressives claim that medical debt leads to financial ruin for hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., recently argued that the high cost of health care is pushing so many people into bankruptcy that the government must cancel medical debt. It's the precursor to his call for a federal takeover of the entire health insurance system so that no one has to pay for medical care directly again. Medical bills can be onerous. But they account for a...

Some Illinois hospitals are keeping their prices secret from their patients. Only three out of a sample of 11 major medical facilities in the state are fully compliant with a federal rule requiring hospitals to publish the costs of common services, according to data from the nonprofit group PatientsRightsAdvocate.org. That includes hospitals in Chicago. Hospitals shouldn’t be able to get away with flouting the law like this. Price transparency empowers patients and payers to shop around for medical care — and ultimately...

The Democrats' budget reconciliation bill is winding its way through the Senate. Last week, Republican and Democratic senators met with the chamber's parliamentarian to discuss whether the bill's proposal for Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs with manufacturers has a direct impact on government spending or tax revenue, as reconciliation rules require. But these are not negotiations. They're price controls. The bill's text sets maximum prices that the government will pay — and threatens confiscatory taxes for drug companies that refuse to...

Late last month, the Food and Drug Administration advised COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to develop booster shots aimed at the omicron variant of the virus. Regulators hope the shots will be ready by the fall. That will probably be too late to stop BA.5, the highly transmissible subvariant that has quickly become the dominant strain in the United States. It's been roughly six months since omicron caused COVID cases to spike. Yet the FDA waited until a new, more transmissible version of the virus was threatening a wave of cases...

The following op-ed has been authored by a non-clinician, it does not constitute medical advice. In an effort to boost access to the antiviral Paxlovid, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will now allow pharmacists to prescribe the medicine; the agency announced this last week, on July 6. Previously, patients seeking the drug, which has proven highly effective at preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19, needed a prescription from a doctor. That hurdle never really made sense. Paxlovid must be taken no more than five days...

With inflation rising and midterm elections just months away, Democrats are desperate for something they can pitch to voters as a reason to keep them in control of Congress. They're hoping a watered-down version of their Build Back Better Act could do the trick. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., who helped shoot the bill down last winter, has met repeatedly with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., in recent weeks in an effort to hash out a compromise on the massive spending package. Reports indicate a proposal to...

Proponents of prescription-drug importation notched a victory last week. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee green-lit a bill that would enable individuals to import medicines from Canada in the name of lowering out-of-pocket costs. It's not something Americans should welcome or support. Drugs imported from outside the United States will always pose a significant safety risk. Even if they didn't, importing medicines from countries with price controls on drugs would have devastating effects on medical innovation at home. It's an article of...

Earlier this month, a group of 17 House Republicans released several ideas for modernizing the healthcare system, improving access to care, and lowering costs. One of the proposals — safeguarding expanded access to telehealth — could help achieve all three of those goals. Lawmakers would do well to relax permanently the telehealth restrictions that were temporarily waived during the pandemic. Those waivers have eliminated onerous barriers to virtual care. For example, Medicare beneficiaries no longer have to travel to a designated healthcare facility just to...

Hospitals are shoring up their balance sheets on the backs of cancer patients, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers looked at 25 of the top cancer medications distributed at 61 cancer treatment centers across the country over the course of six months. They found that the clinics charged private insurers anywhere from 118% to 634% above what it cost them to acquire the drug. It shouldn’t take a team of medical researchers to find out how much...

Did the Biden administration participate in closed-door meetings with foreign officials to deal away some of America's most valuable intellectual property? It appears so. According to a letter sent by six senators to U.S. Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai on May 10, the Biden administration negotiated a proposal with the European Union, India and South Africa to suspend IP protections for COVID-19 vaccines without consulting Congress like it's supposed to. The senators condemn her for negotiating behind their backs. They're right to be incensed. Ambassador Tai's...

More than eight in 10 hospitals are flouting a federal rule requiring them to publish their prices, according to a new report. That rule has been in force for over a year now. It’s long past time for hospitals to comply. The lack of transparency in the health care market is costing patients billions of dollars. Since Jan. 1, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have mandated that hospitals share how much they charge for at least 300 different “shoppable...

Earlier this month, members of the World Trade Organization met to debate a proposal to waive intellectual property protections on COVID-19 vaccines. Supporters of the plan claim it's necessary to boost the supply of vaccines in developing countries and, in turn, vaccinate the world. But insufficient supply isn't holding up the global vaccination campaign. In fact, many developing countries have a surplus of vaccines. Consider South Africa, which is preparing to destroy its stockpile of expiring doses and terminate its mass vaccination program. Or take the Serum Institute of India, which shut...

Nearly three in four doctors now work for a hospital, health system, or corporate entity, according to new data from Avalere. That's a 7% increase from a year ago—and an almost 20% jump since 2019. In other words, the independent physician is becoming an endangered species. The corporatization of medicine is sapping competition in the healthcare marketplace. And that's leading to higher prices for patients—and lower pay for providers. The pandemic accelerated the longstanding trend of greater consolidation in medicine. Large health systems acquired more than 36,000 physician...

Last week, both New York and Kansas granted nurse practitioners the freedom to practice independently, without the supervision of a physician. The Empire State and the Sunflower State are now the 25th and 26th states to roll back "scope-of-practice" restrictions on NPs. This trend is worth celebrating. The shortage of primary care doctors in the United States is already at crisis levels, particularly in rural areas. Empowering NPs, physician assistants, and pharmacists to treat people independently could expand the supply of health care virtually overnight — at...

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just recommended that seniors get a second COVID-19 booster shot. But there are plenty of people over the age of 65 — one-third, according to the latest data — who have not yet gotten their first booster. Perhaps that's because it took until the omicron variant emerged last fall for the CDC to get behind booster shots for all adults. Or maybe it's because public health officials have been peddling confusing and contradictory messaging...