Issues

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders called the CEOs of several major pharmaceutical firms to testify earlier this month before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where he serves as chairman. The hearing's official purpose was to discuss prescription drug pricing. But it mainly offered Sanders a forum to castigate the pharmaceutical industry. "The overwhelming beneficiary of high drug prices in America is the pharmaceutical industry," Sanders said. "The United States government does not regulate drug companies. With a few exceptions, the drug companies regulate...

This week, members of the World Trade Organization have convened half a world away in Abu Dhabi. But a proposal on the agenda could have profound consequences for us here in California. Representatives of the World Trade Organization’s 164 member nations will discuss whether to waive patent protections on COVID-19 tests and treatments. If California’s political leaders don’t do everything in their power to make sure that doesn’t happen, they’ll risk irrevocable damage to the state’s businesses and economy. This isn’t...

The Left has long insisted that medical debt is a national crisis and that the federal government needs to do something about it. They appear to have new ammunition in the form of an analysis published this month by the Peterson Center on Healthcare and KFF. Nearly one in 12 adults — 20.4 million people — had medical debt in 2021, according to the brief. But a closer look at the numbers shows that these figures rely on some questionable assumptions. The Peterson-KFF study counts any adult with “over $250 in unpaid medical bills as...

Cancer is becoming more common. This year, the number of new cancer cases among Americans is projected to exceed 2 million for the first time ever, according to a paper published last month by the American Cancer Society. The disease is also afflicting people earlier in their lives. Cancer diagnosis rates for people under 50 rose nearly 13% since 2000. Colorectal cancer is now the leading cause of cancer death for men under 50 — and the second-leading cause for women. Statistics like these show just how hard...

By Sally Pipes & Wayne Winegarden There they go again. Free-market advocates are jeopardizing pro-market healthcare reforms based on an inability to recognize how cronyism tars the current industry dynamics. That distinction between companies operating in a free market and companies using cronyism to flourish in a government-dominated market is the key. At question are the operations of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). PBMs serve large insurers, employer-sponsored health plans, and government health plans. The three largest PBMs control nearly 80% of the...

The price of health insurance has skyrocketed in recent years, according to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Average annual premiums for employer-based family plans have risen by 22% percent since 2018, to nearly $24,000. It's tempting to see these hikes as a shameless cash-grab by avaricious insurers. But there are more systemic factors fueling the growth of health costs. Only by attacking these root causes can policymakers bring down the cost of coverage without compromising the quality of...

Last year’s Inflation Reduction Act is not proving popular with a group it aims to help — older Americans. That’s according to a recent survey from Commitment to Seniors. More than 80% of likely voters over 55 believe the IRA hasn’t helped them personally in terms of lowering the impact of inflation, consumer costs, and prescription drug prices. Almost eight in ten say the IRA is a failure one year after its passage....

The Federal Trade Commission continues its assault on innovation and consumers’ wellbeing under the guise of protecting us from harms that are, all too often, merely speculative. In a recent example, the FTC commissioners assert that a merger of two closely connected companies poses theoretical harm to competitors. The FTC’s mission is to protect consumers by ensuring that markets are competitive, not to protect competitors. Presumably, the Commissioners imagine that the theoretical harm to competitors will somehow make consumers worse off,...

There's a paradox at the center of American healthcare policy. The government will spend just shy of $2 trillion subsidizing healthcare this year — including over $500 billion on Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. But low-income Americans still struggle to afford care. According to one recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly seven in ten Americans earning less than $40,000 a year find it at least somewhat difficult to pay for healthcare. Read the full article at Newsmax...

The pharmaceutical supply chain is rife with misaligned incentives. Due to these disincentives, policies that make sense under most market conditions create problems that harm patients. Coupling the fees of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to the discounts they negotiate exemplifies this problem. Read the full article by Sally Pipes and Wayne Winegarden at Forbes.com...

Peter Marks, director of Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research noted that “vaccination remains critical to public health and continued protection against serious consequences of Covid-19, including hospitalization and death.” But what is the protection for those Americans who can’t take the vaccine? Read the full article at Forbes.com...

The Biden administration recently announced the first 10 drugs that will be subject to price controls under Medicare as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. The president celebrated the occasion, saying, "We took on Big Pharma and special interests, overcoming opposition from every Republican in Congress, and the American people won." "Won?" The next generation of American patients will not feel like they "won" when they're stuck waiting even longer for effective treatments -- if those treatments ever materialize. Read the full...

Listen to Dr. Wayne Winegarden, PRI senior fellow in business and economics and director of PRI's Center for Medical Economics and Innovation, discuss his new brief "No Solutions, Only Tradeoffs," which explores how the small health benefits generated by state COVID-19 lockdowns were more than offset by huge losses in education and the economy. TheLarsLarsonShow · Dr Wayne Winegarden Did Covid Restrictions Wreck Our Economy For Nothing...

A government shutdown has been averted—for now. Congress approved a continuing resolution this weekend that funds the government through mid-November. But the weeks-long fight put other important legislative work on hold. Take the “Lower Costs, More Transparency Act.” Late last month, lawmakers pulled it from the floor ahead of an expected vote. The sponsors of the bipartisan bill—whose name is an apt summary of its goal—did so after a whip count revealed they would not have enough votes to pass it. Whatever...

The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability met last week for a hearing on the Inflation Reduction Act's first year. As one of the witnesses pointed out, the law's implementation — particularly its drug pricing reforms — have already run afoul of some of our government's most basic norms of transparency and accountability. The IRA gives federal officials the authority to dictate what Medicare pays for certain medicines — a scheme intended to reduce the government's drug bill. Late last month,...

SACRAMENTO – States that had more invasive COVID-19 restrictions saw small reductions in COVID-19 infection and mortality rates, but saw large negative impacts on employment, economic growth, and children’s education outcomes, finds a new brief released today by the Center for Medical Economics and Innovation at the nonpartisan Pacific Research Institute. Click to download the brief “Looking at the data, states with stricter COVID-19 public health policies did see small health benefits from reduced infections and mortality rates – but at the...

Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are examining how industry middlemen known as Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) are driving up healthcare costs. Rightly so. PBMs have been manipulating the complex and opaque drug pricing system at the expense of patients for far too long and Congress must act. Read the full article by Sally Pipes and Wayne Winegarden at RealClearHealth...

New vaccines for scourges like malaria and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. New cancer drugs that can cut death rates by half or even cause complete remission. The discovery of a biomarker that could identify people who would benefit from investigational drugs for Parkinson’s Disease. Breakthrough treatments that curb obesity and other addictive behaviors. Innovations like these have led The New York Times to declare the 2020s a “golden age for medicine.” But this golden age might be cut short, and a...

President Joe Biden celebrated a milestone today—but American patients have no reason to cheer. The White House announced the first 10 prescription drugs that, starting in 2026, will be subject to price controls authorized by the Inflation Reduction Act. Democrats laud these price controls, which they glibly dub "negotiations," as a way to lower drug costs for seniors on Medicare. But in the not-too-distant future, people of all ages may look back and rue this day—as the beginning of the end of...

The Biden administration claims to support price transparency in healthcare. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has formally warned hundreds of hospitals to comply with federal rules requiring them to post their prices publicly. And the agency just rolled out a new rule designed to “advance prescription drug transparency in Medicaid.” But that drug pricing rule has little to do with transparency. It’s an opaque bid by the White House to impose price controls on drug makers. If implemented, it...