Here’s one Rx for slashing runaway drug costs: get the monopoly money out of U.S. health care.
That’s the finding of a new study by Harvard researchers who blame “government-protected monopolies” granted to drug makers for fueling the surge in prescription prices ― a trend that’s hitting American patients hardest of all.
In the U.S., spending on prescribed drugs exceeded $850 per capita in 2013 ― compared to $400 for the rest of the industrialized world, reports the study, published Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association. As a result, prescription meds now comprise nearly 20 percent of total health care costs, jeopardizing the wellness of many patients who can’t afford their doctor-ordered drugs, researchers noted.
“Unlike … nearly every other advanced nation, the U.S. health care system allows manufacturers to set their own price for a given product,” wrote lead author Dr. Aaron S. Kesselheim, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and a pharmacoeconomist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He and colleagues analyzed 12 years’ worth of peer-reviewed medical and health-policy literature on the topic.