Policy Proposals

On this page, you’ll find our analysis on key state and federal pharmaceutical policy proposals, with a focus on providing the expected economic impact from these proposals.

Twenty-five years ago, the leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 25 and 44 was complications from HIV. At the time, 50,000 Americans were dying from AIDS-related causes a year, with the African American community particularly hard hit – 49 percent of the people dying from AIDS-related deaths were African Americans. Today, thanks to highly active antiretroviral therapies (HAART), along with other medical advances, people with HIV like basketball great Magic Johnson are living longer and healthier lives. And,...

A recent New York Times editorial about the Food and Drug Administration reflects a systematic weakness at the once-venerable Gray Lady: The members of the editorial board often rely on sloganeering and popular wisdom instead of substantive evidence. The editorial was headlined, “The FDA Is in Trouble. Here’s How to Fix It.” The agency is in trouble. But it’s due to the very kinds of “fixes” the Times recommends. The FDA is highly bureaucratic and risk averse, leading to a slow and expensive drug approval...

Dr. Wayne Winegarden, director of PRI’s Center for Medical Economics and Innovation, breaks down recently-proposed plans in Washington and Sacramento that emphasize price caps and more government control to address prescription drug prices. He discusses the conclusions of his new study on America’s drug pricing challenge, which makes the case that system-wide reforms to improve the complex drug supply chain and increase transparency are what’s needed to lower health care costs. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXSIkIWH3X4[/embed]...

Yesterday the House passed the ill-considered “Pelosi bill” that would impose draconian price controls on drugs. Ignoring the bill’s many adverse impacts, price control advocates like Speaker Pelosi appear to believe that these command and control schemes can solve the systemic health care affordability problem. But, as the latest government data illustrates, such efforts are a fool’s errand. Consider that back in 1960 national health expenditures equaled 5.0% of GDP. Health expenditures have been growing faster than the economy ever since reaching 17.7%...

Biosimilars could generate savings of about $116 million in New Jersey annually—including the state’s Medicaid program and patients with commercial insurance, according to a new issue brief by the Center for Medical Economics and Innovation at the Pacific Research Institute. Nationwide, those annual savings could reach $7 billion. PRI is a San Francisco-based free-market think tank. “We broke it down so you can look at it by state total and then breakout how much is for Medicaid which is directly applicable...

Once wide coercive powers are given to government agencies…such powers cannot be effectively controlled. F.A. Hayek As part of the chorus calling for drug price controls, the New York Times editorial page has claimed that “Americans will need to accept a trade-off that other advanced nations long since come around to: Slightly fewer new drugs will come to market, in exchange for better prices on the medications that already exist”. There is not one part of this statement that is true. Worse, if the Times’...

Lars brings on Dr. Henry Miller, a physician, molecular biologist and Senior Fellow at the Pacific Research Institute, and widely published in both scholarly journals and the popular press to discuss this year’s battle against the ever so deadly flu virus. According to Dr. Miller, “Last flu season, which ran from October 2018 until May 2019, caused up to 42.9 million flu illnesses, up to 647,000 hospitalizations and up to 61,200 flu deaths.” Listen below for more. ...

In September 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) sent an email announcing that it would no longer cover Auryxia®. Auryxia® is an FDA approved medicine that treats iron deficiency anemia (anemia) for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) but who are not on dialysis. People with CKD have damaged kidneys that no longer filter their blood properly. Currently, 30 million people in the U.S. are living with CKD, and for these patients, anemia is common. If left untreated,...

When it comes to determining value, the U.S. health care system faces unique challenges. Without a better approach, the twin goals of continued innovation and broad-based drug affordability will be difficult, if not impossible, to maintain. Value assessment models are quickly becoming the approach du jour to overcome these challenges. However, value assessment models suffer from several flaws, but perhaps most importantly, as applied, these models assume that there is one number that accurately portrays the value of a medicine to all patients. Such an...

A debate over the direction of healthcare reform is roiling the Democratic Party as it weighs whom to nominate for President in 2020. But the party does appear to have coalesced around a basic idea. “We believe that health care is a human right, and we are going to fight for a system that is based on human needs,” said progressive champion Senator Bernie Sanders at a recent campaign stop. Joe Biden’s campaign offers a similar line: “We all believe that health care...

San Diegans and all Californians will pay a high price should a bill introduced by Assemblyman Jim Wood, a Democrat from Santa Rosa, become law. Proponents claim the bill is necessary to rein in anti-competitive practices by the pharmaceutical industry, but in reality, it will delay generic entry and raise the costs of medicines for Californians. The ostensible rationale for Assembly Bill 824 is to stop “pay-for-delay” tactics. “Pay-for-delay” refers to the practice of patented drug manufacturers paying off generic manufacturers for the sole...

Making medicines more affordable for patients promises to be a top policy priority for Congress when it returns from its August recess. Achieving this goal does not require new, elaborate, government programs or regulations. It requires reforms that will empower biosimilars to more effectively compete against originator biologics. To see why a little background is needed. Consider that the growth in spending on drugs that includes all discounts and rebates grew 3.5% annually between 2009 and 2018 according to IQVIA’s annual review of...

Politicians talk a lot about farming but seldom about “pharming,” even though the latter can also have a big impact on Americans’ pocketbooks—and their health. The punny name refers to genetically modifying plants such as corn, rice, tobacco and alfalfa to produce high concentrations of pharmaceutical ingredients. Many common medicines already come from plants, including morphine, the fiber supplement Metamucil and the cancer drug Taxol. Yet heavy-handed federal regulations have frozen out pharming efforts, making it far too difficult for...

A smarter way to curb drug prices through imports By Henry I. Miller, M.S., M.D. and John J. Cohrssen The Trump administration last week announced steps that could lead to the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, where prices are lower. It is a goal supported by President Trump, but long opposed by many Republicans . . . Instead of pushing for piecemeal steps that will continually run into political opposition and legal challenges, the administration should take a broader approach — by establishing...

Opioids: Bad Science, Bad Policy, Bad Outcomes By Henry I. Miller, M.S., M.D. and Josh Bloom There’s an old joke about the drunk who’s hunting for his lost keys under the lamppost, not because he thinks they’re there, but because the light is good. Well, that’s what the feds and state governments are doing to try to quell the epidemic of opioid addiction and overdoses. The problem is quite real, but legislators and regulators are making incorrect assumptions and adopting flawed strategies. And...

Report: Growing biosimilar market could save billions in health spending by Paige Minemyer Growing the biosimilar market could lead to significant healthcare cost savings, according to a new report, with the opportunity for billions in cost reductions. An analysis (PDF) from the Pacific Research Institute, a free market think tank, shows today the limited biosimilar market share saved about $253.8 million per year in spending. If biosimilars gained a 25% market share, those savings would increase to $2.5 billion, they said. If the market share increased further,...

Cures for Cancer Could Grow on Trees By Kathleen L. Hefferon and Henry I. Miller Politicians talk a lot about farming but seldom about “pharming,” even though the latter can also have a big impact on Americans’ pocketbooks—and their health. The punny name refers to genetically modifying plants such as corn, rice, tobacco and alfalfa to produce high concentrations of pharmaceutical ingredients. Many common medicines already come from plants, including morphine, the fiber supplement Metamucil and the cancer drug Taxol. Yet heavy-handed...

Biosimilars Struggle to Gain Market Share in the U.S., Analysis Shows By Alex Keown Over the past several years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a number of biosimilar medications, therapies that have similar properties to a branded drug, but are different in composition, which differentiates them from generic drugs. The approval of biosimilar treatments has been supported at the highest levels as a means to increase competition in the market and help regulate some of the high costs of prescription...