It’s no secret that Americans pay far more for prescription drugs than consumers in any other country in the developed world. Most European countries impose price controls on Big Pharma that keep their prescription drug prices to less than two-thirds of what Americans pay.
Obviously, Big Pharma doesn’t want that happening here — which may help to explain why Pfizer has funded a new Rand Corporation study saying that lowering drug prices through price controls would have horrific consequences for Americans.
How horrific? It would actually reduce the length of your life!
As Reuters reports:
Imposing European-style price controls on prescription drugs in the United States would result in modest cost savings that would be more than offset by shortened life spans as the pace of drug innovation slows, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. They said lowering insurance co-payments would be a better way of attacking the problem of rising prescription drug prices in the United States, which pays more per capita for pharmaceuticals than any other nation.
“We found policies that regulate the prices of drugs could result in modest savings for consumers, in the best cases on the order of $5,000 to $10,000 per person over a lifetime,” said Darius Lakdawalla of the nonprofit Rand Corporation, who worked on two studies appearing in a special report on drug pricing in the journal Health Affairs.
“But in many other cases, those policies resulted in very substantial losses to consumers in the form of reduced life expectancy and those would be worth tens of thousands of dollars”…
They said introducing price regulations into a largely unregulated market like the United States would result in less investment in developing life-saving drugs, which in the long run would reduce the life expectancy of Americans.
I found it interesting that Pfizer’s funding of this little project was not mentioned until the 11th paragraph of the story.
I also found it interesting that there is no mention of the fact that in most European countries with prescription drug price controls, life spans are longer than in the United States.
Way to keep your eye on the ball, Reuters.
A final point to ponder: Rand says its study is objective. It just happens to put the burden of healthcare price reform on Big Insurance rather than Big Pharma, by saying the solution is to find a way to lower drug co-pays.
Do you think if the study had been funded by Humana or some other big insurance provider, Rand’s report might say something different?