President Trump has said he plans to issue an executive order to lower what the United States government would pay for drugs to no more than “whatever the lowest nation’s price is.”
These proposals, like others that would cut the costs of drugs, are clearly popular. But if implemented they could have disastrous unintended consequences for existing or future high-value personalized cell-based therapies, gene therapies, and targeted medicines that are reshaping the discovery, development, and delivery of health care.
Backdoor price controls, like those proposed or suggested by the administration, will likely discourage the pharmaceutical industry from making investments in personalized and targeted therapies that address the root causes of diseases rather than merely treating their symptoms. They would also slow the discovery of treatments for diseases that affect small numbers of patients for whom there are no effective medicines by making it even more difficult for pharmaceutical companies to get returns
Instead of blindly reducing list prices for all drugs, we should instead seek solutions that assess every treatment in the context of its value to individual patients and the downstream savings they may facilitate elsewhere.
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