EpiPen Price Increases: How Regulatory Barriers Inhibit Pharmaceutical Competition

It’s often argued that drugs are one of the last vestiges of market-based pricing in our highly regulated health care industry. By contrast, regulators in Washington set most prices for clinical services. It’s true that drug makers have more pricing discretion than other sectors in health care, whether it’s in comparison to hospitals, providers, or even medical device makers. But the market for drug products is hardly a utopia of free market pricing and vibrant competition. The drug market is subject to its own peculiar price setting and regulation. These rules undermine the competitive opportunities that could help inspire more choice and competition, and help lower costs.

Congress can act to increase competition by enabling more drugs to reach the market, especially low-cost generic medicines. And enabling more health plans to negotiate discounts that can directly benefit consumers.

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