Prescription Drug Pricing: Scam or Scapegoat?

The financial challenges of introducing expensive new “specialty” drugs and abrupt increases in prices charged for some older generic medications have led payers, physicians, and politicians to demand price controls on all drug manufacturers. The principal driver of specialty drug pricing is the hardwired uncertainty of biology and resulting extreme risk of drug development.

Although some pricing practices are arguably antisocial, ideologically and politically motivated misrepresentation of the pharmaceutical industry has obscured the fact that wide application of arbitrary price controls necessarily must impair drug innovation. All health care stakeholders should keep this fact in mind when addressing the stresses incurred by high drug prices.

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