Author: Wayne Winegarden

The costs of medicines continue to dominate the headlines, attracting the attention of Congress and the Trump Administration. Reforms are necessary, but many of the reforms under consideration will make the situation worse. Indexing U.S. prices to the prices in other countries that use price controls, or using third-party arbitration to set the price of prescription drugs, exemplify these wrong-headed policies. The Trump Administration’s proposal would set Medicare Part B prices (prices for drugs administered in a clinical setting) to the...

Gene therapies are transformative treatments that fundamentally differ from traditional medical and pharmaceutical options because they modify a patient’s DNA in order to address the genetic causes of diseases. These therapies have the potential to dramatically improve the lives of millions of Americans living with life-threatening or life-altering diseases. Since gene therapies directly address the genetic causes of diseases, doctors and scientists anticipate that these therapies will be cures. If successful, the goal will no longer be simply treating these devastating diseases...

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) has just doubled down on one of the Trump Administration’s unsound ideas. His proposal is disappointing for many reasons, particularly because Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, has proposed an alternative reform that, if Congress implemented, would meaningfully improve the affordability of prescription drugs for patients. As part of the “Transparent Drug Pricing Act of 2019”, Senator Scott proposes to set the list price of all medicines to the lowest retail list price among five...

Congress could soon vote on legislation that would gut America’s intellectual property laws. The bill isn’t just bad news for big pharmaceutical companies that hold lucrative patents. It’s terrible news for patients — medical research spending would dry up without strong patent protections. Americans could lose out on cures for cancer, heart disease, and other deadly chronic conditions. The proposed law would target patented drugs sold through Medicare’s Part D prescription drug program. Right now, private insurance companies design Part D plans...

Today’s hearing in front of the Senate Finance Committee will, unfortunately, be another wasted opportunity. Surely, Senators will make grandiose speeches and be shocked at the cost of drugs. They will also continue to support the very policies that are causing the problems the hearing is supposed to address. A February 25th editorial from the New York Times exemplifies why this opportunity for effective reforms may very well be lost. The Senate hearing is not a day of reckoning as the Times claims. It should be an opportunity...

In response to the problem of rising list prices for drugs, elected officials continue to propose counterproductive reforms. Whether it is importing drugs from Canada or indexing U.S. drug prices to the prices charged in other countries, these policies will make the current bad situation worse because they fail to understand the disincentives that are the root cause of the problem. Until now. A proposal by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, if implemented, would meaningfully improve the pharmaceutical market. The...

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar just released a sweeping proposal that would drastically change how Medicare pays for advanced cancer therapies and other potent medicines. The plan relies on foreign price controls to reduce drug spending by $17 billion over five years. Although drug spending may decline, the plan could increase health care spending elsewhere, as patients inevitably lose access to medicines. So while the savings is questionable, the negative health impact on patients is certain. Sec. Azar ought...

In one of his first acts, Governor Newsom signed an executive order that will change how medicines are purchased in California. With visions of big-box store discounts dancing in his head, Governor Newsom has established a bulk program that will now purchase drugs for the state’s Medicaid program (Medi-Cal). The Governor believes that his executive order will create significant health care savings for the state, but he will be sorely disappointed. Imposing more government mandates and increasing bureaucratic control of the...