Giving Compass' Take:

• Karen Van Nuys, Dana Goldman, and Ian D. Spatz offer four ways for policymakers to lower the cost of prescription drugs. 

• How can funders help support grassroots efforts to keep pharmaceutical costs down? Who is hurt most by high prices? 

• Learn why some social movements fail while other succeed

Most Americans believe that President Trump and the Congress should make lowering the cost of prescription drugs a priority. With strong support among Republicans, Democrats and Independents, policy fixes that can slow the rapid rise of prescription pharmaceutical costs may be among the few areas where bipartisan cooperation is possible. Even so, many of the most prominent policy proposals lack consensus and, if recent experience with health reform is any indication, could result in continued political battles.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Rather, the administration and lawmakers should prioritize four actions that could engender more cooperation and improve health over the long-term:

  • Encourage competition in the market for generic drugs to keep prices in check
  • Reduce regulatory barriers to value-based pricing to better align the price of drugs to their benefits
  • Review the incentives provided to brand-drug manufacturers to balance rewards to innovation without creating unnecessary barriers to competition.
  • Introduce greater transparency in the pharmaceutical distribution system to ensure that returns are justified across all players

High prices for innovative drugs are one element in a complex innovation ecosystem that seeks to balance the interests of current patients who need access to today’s new (and expensive) drugs, and those of future patients for whom today’s new drugs will be low-priced generics, but who will need entirely new innovative drugs. For this reason, we believe that interventions in branded drug markets deserve especially careful deliberation and study.

Read the full article about the best ways to keep pharmaceutical costs in check by Karen Van Nuys, Dana Goldman, and Ian D. Spatz at Brookings.