The Atlantic

Readers Discuss Extreme Drug Prices—And What to Do About Them

“The public should receive a cut of any drug profits, just as any other investor might.”
Source: Bryan Woolston / Reuters

Big Pharma’s Go-To Defense of Soaring Drug Prices Doesn’t Add Up

Many pharmaceutical companies claim that exorbitant drug costs—some companies charge patients $100,000, $200,000, or even $500,000 a year—are necessary to fund expensive research projects that generate new drugs.

But “invoking high research costs to justify high drug prices,” Ezekiel J. Emanuel wrote last week, “is deceptive.” As even some pharmaceutical executives have acknowledged, he said, “there is no necessary link between a decline in drug prices and a decline in R&D.”

Too many people are focused on driving health costs down. It sounds intuitive, but it misses a bigger opportunity: making health costs most effective.

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