Issues

A new brief released today by the Center for Medical Economics and Innovation at the nonpartisan Pacific Research Institute provides the latest evidence that biosimilar competition is saving patients billions – and additional competition would increase savings even more. Click to download the brief From 2019-2023, patients saved $15 billion from biosimilar competition.  Had there been competition during the same period for two other biologics, Humira and Enbrel, patients would have saved another $13 billion, for a total of $28 billion. “The growing...

Every day, nearly 10,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer. The good news is that applying sunscreen can substantially reduce a person's risk of getting skin cancer. The bad news is that the federal government is doing its best to keep effective sunscreens out of the hands of ordinary Americans. Unlike most developed countries, the United States classifies sunscreen as a drug, not a cosmetic. That means sunscreens are subject to regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which...

For years, the left's campaign to dictate the price of prescription drugs has focused on one medicine above all others — insulin. The hormone was discovered more than a century ago by Canadian doctor Frederick Banting and his medical student Charles Best. They famously sold their patent to the University of Toronto for $1 apiece. How can insulin still be a financial burden for some of the people with diabetes who need it? This problem motivated the $35 insulin price cap for Medicare enrollees, which...

Earlier this year, European authorities recommended approval of tofersen, a new drug that treats a rare genetic form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. That decision came nearly a year after American regulators granted the drug accelerated approval. Patients with that rare form of ALS in England aren't so lucky. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, or NICE, which evaluates whether treatments are "cost-effective" for the country's National Health Service, announced a decision in March that would effectively render the drug unavailable to them. It's a...

Congress faces a year-end deadline to extend its relaxed pandemic-era rules permitting greater use of telehealth by Medicare beneficiaries. If our lawmakers fail to step up, millions of seniors as well as privately insured patients could lose access to what has become an essential form of medical care. The expansion of telehealth is a perfect example of how cutting red tape can improve people’s lives. Congress should make these changes permanent and use the experience as a model to remove roadblocks to...

Last month at a White House event, President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., took a victory lap for supposedly having "beat Big Pharma" through drug-pricing provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act. Beaming with pride, they hailed new powers for Medicare to "negotiate" drug prices as a historic achievement. But their self-congratulation rests on a false premise. Far from being a big win for Americans' health, the IRA bankrolls billions of dollars' worth of left-wing policy priorities at the expense of life-saving pharmaceutical innovation...

Americans collectively owe some $220 billion in medical debt. In response, a growing number of states, including New Jersey and Connecticut, are using public funds to relieve those debts. Gov. Josh Shapiro, D-Pa., proposed doing something similar in his state earlier this year. But is canceling medical debt the best way to help cash-strapped Americans? Click to read the full article in Newsmax. ...

Cost Plus Drug Company CEO Mark Cuban recently pointed out that self-insured businesses could save over $70,000 per employee annually by getting their workers to switch from AbbVie’s blockbuster anti-inflammatory treatment Humira to a lower-cost biosimilar called Yusimry. Humira has a list price of roughly $7,000 per month. Since it lost market exclusivity last year, nine nearly identical copycats have hit pharmacy shelves. A year’s supply of Yusimry costs the same as just one month of Humira. Why doesn’t every employer in America follow Cuban’s advice? The answer has three letters: PBM. Click to read the...

Speaking at a White House event with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., very recently, President Biden crowed about his rapidly progressing scheme to impose price controls on prescription drugs. "Finally — finally we beat Big Pharma," he said to Sanders. Unfortunately for Americans — and indeed, patients everywhere — the Democrats' assault on the drug industry will result in fewer cures, less access to state-of-the-art medicines, and more avoidable death and suffering. Democrats gave the federal government the ability to dictate the prices of prescription drugs through Medicare...

Barber et al. just published a fundamentally flawed study on diabetes medicines in JAMA Network Open (JNO). This study wrongly suggests that cost-based pricing accurately values innovative on-patent medicines, distracts from serious policymaking, and fuels political grandstanding by politicians such as Senator Bernie Sanders. Cost-based pricing could be an economically viable pricing strategy for generic drugs. Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs (CPD), launched in 2022, is attempting to disrupt the generics industry using this pricing model. CPD sells generic medicines directly to consumers...

By Sally Pipes & Wayne Winegarden  Question: What’s worse than government bureaucrats in Washington declaring the value of your medicine? Answer: Bureaucrats from Boston, London, Ottawa and Diemen establishing that value. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. It is the direction that the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review is pushing our healthcare system. ICER is a Boston-based private organization that has granted itself the right to declare how much a new medicine is worth to you. This is as troubling as it...

Medical students recently celebrated “Match Day,” when aspiring doctors learn where they’ll be spending the next few years in residency to complete their training. America needs many more physicians — as many as 86,000 by 2036, according to projections released this week by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Policymakers can help plug that gap by easing regulatory burdens that keep qualified, internationally trained physicians from practicing in the United States. Click to read the full article in the Washington Examiner....

Like most pharmaceutical companies, Gilead Sciences Inc. devotes a huge amount of time and money to making sure its products are safe for patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its drugs to fight HIV, and these medications have worked remarkably well. It then developed the next generation of HIV medications, and those too have worked well. For that, Gilead is being rewarded with lawsuits—lots of them. Earlier this year, California's First District Court of Appeal ruled that lawsuits brought by...

Any list of the world's most inhumane healthcare bureaucracies has to include Britain's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence at the top. For over two decades, the agency has employed ruthless cost-benefit analyses to effectively deny British patients access to the latest medicines. Now NICE is looking to export its expertise rationing life-saving drugs to the United States. The body recently announced a collaboration with the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, a U.S. group that purports to determine the cost-effectiveness of medical treatments. Similar...

The current federal regulatory process to develop monoclonal antibodies to treat mutating strains of COVID-19 imposes unnecessary hurdles that hinder the creation and approval of effective treatments for the immunocompromised, 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 “Monoclonal antibodies provided benefits to vulnerable populations and six different ones were authorized to treat COVID-19,” said Dr. Wayne Winegarden, director of PRI’s Center for Medical Economics...

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...